Men don't have a uterus -- that's the universal truth. But in Bihar's Samastipur district, officials and doctors have, on paper, removed uteruses of more than a dozen men on paper to usurp the health insurance money provided under Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna.
This revelation emerged following an inquiry into an alleged scam involving removal of uteruses of hundreds of women living below poverty line in the district to pocket insurance money.
That's not all. Uteruses of some teenage girls and pregnant women were also removed unnecessarily.
"It is difficult to believe, but the paperwork submitted by the doctors -- obviously to mint money -- indicates that uterus removal procedure has been carried out on men as well," a district official, who is part of the scam probe, told rediff.com.
Samastipur District Magistrate Kundan Kumar told rediff.com over phone that action would be taken against those found guilty.
"It is a big crime and clear case of corruption. Out officials are probing it," he said.
Following the scam, the district administration has decided to organise a four-day camp from August 4 in Samastipur to enable the BPL families to lodge complaints against illegal operations carried out by errant nursing homes.
Ironically, in Samastipur alone doctors had performed the highest number of hysterectomy surgeries on women in the last one year followed by Madhubani district.
According to preliminary inquiries, over 5000 uteruses were removed in Samastipur -- some unnecessarily, some forcibly and some on paper -- by private doctors at different private hospitals or nursing homes to claim insurance amount of Rs 30,000 per patient.
"Several private hospitals have claimed insurance money without even removing uteruses at all," officials said.
Private hospitals have claimed up to Rs 12 crore under the scheme in the last one year.
Officials said that a private hospital in Samastipur had claimed Rs 1.28 crore while another received Rs 97.18 lakh for performing the operations.
Small nursing homes located in block and sub-divisional towns claimed hefty amounts for the surgery. For example, a nursing home located in Shahpur Patori block in the district had furnished bills worth Rs 55.42 lakh while another at Dalsingsarai had sought Rs 32.24 lakh.
"Such a scam is happening in Bihar when Chief Minister Nitish Kumar is claiming good governance. Corruption is rampant in all government schemes in Bihar," Opposition Rashtriya Janata Dal leader Ghulam Ghosh said.
In 2008, the Centre had launched the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojna for women belonging to BPL families named. Under the scheme, the beneficiary has to pay a registration fee of Rs 30 with the Centre and the state government paying the premium. The beneficiary will be covered for Rs 30,000 and could take medical treatment in hospitals approved under the scheme.