After Chattisgarh, Bihar became the second state to be hit by the ‘uterus removal scam’. The Bihar assembly speaker ordered a house committee probe into the alleged removal of uteruses of over 16,000 below poverty line women in the state to swindle them of their health insurance money provided under a central government scheme. The opposition has demanded a CBI inquiry.
Speaker Uday Narain Choudhary handed over the probe to the assembly’s committee after the opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal (RJD) and the Lok Janashakti Party (LJP) for the second consecutive day created uproar in the assembly. They alleged that uteruses of 16,000 women from the below poverty line (BPL) segment were removed to swindle them of Rs.30,000 each provided under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana. Incidents have came into light in the state in which uteruses of women even in the reproductive age were removed. In some instances, men were declared as women and several private hospitals claimed insurance money due to the women.
Bihar Labour Resources Minister Janardhan Singh Sigriwal, however, rejected the charges and said there were no irregularities in uterus removal of women in the state. ”An inquiry into it has so far revealed that insurance money was not withdrawn by removing uterus of women in the name of men,” Sigriwal said. He said that uteruses of 16,765 women were removed in 11 districts of the state but no irregularities were reported till date. RJD and LJP members raised the issue in and outside the assembly Tuesday and Wednesday and demanded a CBI probe into it.
They accused the state government of suppressing the serious issue. RJD legislator Bhai Birendra accused Chief Minister Nitish Kumar’s government of being hand in glove in the loot of the money for schemes under the National Rural Health Mission. ”We will not sit silent over the issue of uterus removal of thousands of women across Bihar, particularly in Samastipur district. It has again exposed rampant corruption in the government schemes for rural poor, and we have demanded a CBI probe into it,” Birendra said. According to preliminary inquiries by officials, uteruses of over 5,000 women were removed in Samastipur alone. Doctors at private hospitals or nursing homes gobbled up insurance amount of Rs.30,000 from each patient.
In 2008, the central government launched the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna (RSBY) insurance scheme for the women belonging to BPL families suffering from infections. Under the scheme, the beneficiary has to pay a registration fee of Rs.30, and the beneficiary is covered for Rs.30,000 and can take medical treatment in the approved hospitals.