Health Minister V.S. Sivakumar has announced that the government is withdrawing the recent hike in OP ticket charges in government hospitals.

This was the first file that the new Health Minister signed after assuming office. The old OP ticket rates (Rs.1) would continue, he said in an official release here.

It was just last week that the government had issued orders revising the OP ticket rates in government health-care facilities.

While the BPL category patients were exempted, the OP ticket charge for APL category was hiked to Rs.5.

However, this had sparked off widespread protests with Opposition Leader V.S. Achuthanandan leading the charge that this was an anti-people measure and that it was the government's responsibility to take care of the health of the people.