Mumbai: People below the poverty line can now avail treatments at the railway hospitals across India under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY) scheme.

Earlier, only railway employees and their relatives were allowed to avail the treatment. Now, even the public can get treated, which is also a plan to reduce the burden on the government and civic-run hospitals.

Last month, the Union Ministry of Railway and the National Health Authority (NHA) signed an agreement making it mandatory for all the railway hospitals to implement it immediately.

On November 1, they issued a notification to all the zonal general managers, directing them to follow the instructions.

“Most of the beneficiaries were not aware they can avail medical services in railway hospitals under this scheme. It is therefore essential to widely publicise it, so that people of this category are aware of the medical facilities provided in railway hospitals,” reads the notice sent by the Ministry of Railways.

Currently, there are three railway hospitals in the city, of which two come under the Central Railway and are located in Byculla and Kalyan, while one is under the Western Railway and located near Mumbai Central.

Senior railway officials said that all the hospitals have been developed with state-of-art facilities that provide better treatment and hence many can opt for treatment at the railway hospitals.

“Every year, thousands of people are treated at these three railway hospitals in Mumbai. Now other patients can also avail these facilities. However, it would lead to an additional pressure on us,” he added.

Health activists across the state have welcomed the move and said that it will reduce the burden on the government and civic-run hospitals.

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Free Press Journal