The struggle for a new building and a full-fledged polyclinic is an ongoing battle for the beneficiaries of the Central Government Health Scheme living in and around Avadi.

A five-member delegation from the Ordnance Factory and Allied Establishment Pensioner's Association, Avadi, submitted a memorandum on Thursday to Union Minister of State for Defence M. M. Pallam Raju, who has assured that their demands would be considered.

The association members said that in 2006, the CGHS opened a dispensary in an old building on the Heavy Vehicles Factory premises in Avadi. It caters to over 11,000 beneficiaries. Pensioners requiring treatment for heart conditions, diabetes and hypertension are referred to the better-equipped facilities in Anna Nagar or K.K. Nagar.

They said it was time that the dispensary was upgraded into a polyclinic. Though a new building to house the facility was promised nearly a year ago, there has been little movement on the proposal. However, responding to the appeal of the beneficiaries the CGHS had appointed two doctors on contract and ensured that medicines were distributed as required.

The Ordnance Factory Board last year agreed to provide 4,000 sq. ft land to construct a new building on the HVF premises. The Defence Ministry had prescribed an amount to be paid by the CGHS for the land.

The letter from the Ordnance Factory Board, Kolkata, states that the market value of the area earmarked was around Rs.70 lakh. The Board agreed to permit the CGHS to use the land but on payment of Rs.17.50 lakh as premium and an annual rent of Rs.1.75 lakh. Additional Director of CGHS, Chennai, P. Madialagan said “The building we are currently occupying in Avadi was declared unfit for human habitation, but since the pensioners wanted the facility, we agreed to work there. The CGHS is a 100 per cent service-oriented welfare scheme and is currently the only scheme providing medical care to Central government pensioners. It should not be treated as a commercial establishment.”

The Ordnance Factory Board was yet to respond to a request from the CGHS, made in July last year, to waive the premium money. The CPWD would not be able to draw up a plan for the building unless the Avadi Municipality approves the proposal, which is possible only after the CGHS gets permission to use the land, Dr. Madialagan said.

The assistant general secretary of the Ordnance Factory and Allied Establishment Pensioner's Association, B. Gajapathy, said the proposed building would have space for a diagnostic laboratory and include paramedics.

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