CAG asks Meghalaya govt to fix responsibility for delay in completing cancer hospital

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Shillong, Mar 19 (PTI) The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) has asked the Meghalaya government to fix responsibility and take appropriate action against those responsible for the inordinate delay in completing the centrally sponsored cancer hospital sanctioned in 2008.

The hospital was scheduled to be completed by March 2012 and the delay in completion of the facility in a state, which has one of the highest incidences of cancer cases, reflects serious negligence on the part of the implementing authority - the State Cancer Society, the CAG said.

'The state government needs to fix responsibility and take appropriate action against those responsible for the delay,' the CAG report, tabled in the Assembly on Friday, said.

Scrutiny of the project showed that the hospital was far from being completed as of January 2020 despite availability of funds, it added.

The CAG said that the reasons for this were attributed to the delay in vacating occupants from the site and dismantling of an old building which housed nursing students and staff.

'As a result, the total expenditure resultantly incurred was only Rs 9.77 crore (utilisation certificate submitted) out of Rs 19.84 crore received by the state,' the CAG said.

The Department of Atomic Energy had in 2008 sanctioned Rs 26.16 crore for setting up a comprehensive and modern cancer hospital in Shillong. As per the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Centre and the Meghalaya government, the project to be implemented by the State Cancer Society.

The CAG also noted that the number of cases of cancer incidences in the state has increased by 30 per cent from 1,248 in 2014 to 1,621 in 2018.

During this period, cancer of the oesophagus is the highest with 2,479 cases, followed by oral (1,290), stomach (508), cervical (301), breast (271). Altogether 2,815 other cancer cases were also reported, the CAG said.

State Health Minister AL Hek informed the Assembly earlier this month that East Khasi Hills district, of which state capital Shillong is a part, has the highest tobacco related cancer cases and is the second highest cancer incidence rate in the country.

He had also said that the total number of cancer patients from East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hill, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi district is 7,014 in the past five years. PTI JOP NN NN