Goa CM promises health scheme, assures no compromise on Mhadei

Panaji: Goa Chief Minister Laxmikant Parsekar on Monday promised to implement the universal health scheme in the state soon and also assured that there will be no compromise in the state's interest in the ongoing Mhadei interstate water dispute. In his Independence Day speech,Parsekar said: "The issue of Mhadei is before the tribunal. We cannot and will not compromise on the issue. Goa has won the first victory in the Mhadei dispute with the tribunal's decision to not allow Karnataka to divert seven thousand million cubic feet (TMC ft) of water."  Goa and Karnataka are currently battling out a dispute over the latter's controversial Kalsa-Bhandura dam project across the river Mhadei at a central tribunal. Mhadei, also known as the Mandovi river, is a lifeline in the northern parts of the state. It originates in Karnataka and meets the Arabian Sea in Panaji in Goa. While the river traverses 28.8 km in Karnataka, it is 81.2 km in length in Goa.  Karnataka plans to construct seven dams on the river, aimed at diverting the waters into its water-starved Malaprabha basin in North Karnataka. Parsekar also spoke on the delay involving the launch of the universal health insurance scheme. This flagship schemes proposed by the BJP-led coalition government, is deferred by 15 days due to delay in distribution of health cards. "Implementation of the scheme has been deferred because out of 1.38 lakh families registered for the scheme, only 40,000 have received health cards. If it is implemented from today, then only 40,000 families will get the benefits while rest of families will be deprived," Parsekar said. The Deen Dayal Swasthya Seva Yojana which promises health insurance to every Goan of up to Rs. 2,00,000 per year for over 400 medical procedures, was due to be formally launched on August 15. Parsekar said that the delay in the launch of the scheme was caused because of a protracted monsoon session of the Goa legislative assembly, which concluded last week, and a thorough follow up was not conducted. "During the last three weeks, we were busy with assembly (proceedings) and perhaps we could not have the desired follow up. What I have found is that the insurance company is in a position to create 5,000 cards daily so at least those families who have been enrolled need to have the cards. Of course over the next few days additional families will also be enrolled. Therefore, instead of starting from 40,000, if we start with one lakh families that would be a good number," Parsekar said.