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PET scan at SKIMS would cost Rs 14,500 a patient

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Srinagar, Jan 07: After years of wait, the Positive Emission Tomography (PET) scan facility at SK Institute of Medical Sciences Soura was finally inaugurated on Sunday.
The facility will be available for the patients from today (January 8).
But the cost for the scan seems unaffordable for many patients, who as per the hospital authorities have to shell Rs 14,500 for each scan. The rate is high as compared to AIIMS where a full-body PET scan costs only Rs 7,500.
“I am happy that this machine will be functional here and but I was expecting affordable rates. I don’t have that much money. All I can do is to meet my daily needs. I don’t think I will be able to avail this facility for my Son. I cannot afford it,” said Ali Mohammad, whose son is admitted in the hospital.
Another patient’s mother who wish not to be named said, “My husband finds it hard to run a family and is struggling with a disease. From where shall I get the money?” she asked.
Dr Tanveer Ahmad Rather, Associate Professor, Department of Nuclear Medicine at SKIMS said if the hospital charges lesser money, it would affect the economic viability of the entire PET facility.
“We have done proper research before the inauguration of this equipment. We have considered the finance and technical factors as well. No government or private hospital across the state has PET Scan, patients had to spend between forty and sixty thousand rupees to get the Scan examination done in private and that too outside the state,” he said.
Rather said that the hospital, if needed, can make exceptions for utterly poor patients.
“We have provisions for the poor people, who cannot afford Rs 14500 for the scan. There are exemptions as well. But once we start the scans of patients then only we will be able to comment on it further,” said the doctor wishing anonymity.
“We have to buy an isotope required for the scan examination yearly which cost around Rs 1 lakh. The rate is low compared to the private hospital outside. They are charging large amount for the similar scan,” the doctor said.
He said, “Cancer patients had to travel outside the state to get the scan done. But installing the machine is a big relief for every patient. This is a big step for all.”
PET is a nuclear imaging technique that creates detailed, computerized pictures of organs and tissues inside the body.
The scan can be used to detect cancerous tissues and cells in the body that may not always be found through CT scan or MRI.
The PET scan examination was announced in 2012 to upgrade the SKIMS capability to diagnose and treat the dreaded disease.
But due to the hospital administration mess and changing of locations, the PET scan was delayed. In 2016, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti directed the SKIMS to expedite setting up of PET scan facility and decided to personally monitor it.
The Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) at SKIMS Soura is the highest medical care for cancer patients in Kashmir. Established in 1988, it is one among the 27 RCCs functioning across India.


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Disputes, lack of funds keep grid stations projects in limbo

Mudassir Kuloo

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Srinagar, May 18: Lack of funds and land disputes over towers have been delaying the completion of several grid stations in Kashmir.
There are several grid stations over which works have been started years ago. However, they are facing inordinate delay due to non-completion of construction of transmission towers, and laying of transmission lines.
One such project is Alastang grid station in Ganderbal district, on which work was started nine years ago.
“Although the work on Alastang grid station has been completed, the authorities have failed to resolve the land dispute for setting up towers over the years and connect Alastang with Zainakote grid. Presently this grid station is non-operational,” an official said.
He added that there is an immense load on Pampore and Zainakote power grids from where electricity is being supplied to Srinagar, Ganderbal, and Pulwama districts.
“Ganderbal gets electricity from Zainakote grid station and mostly remains overloaded,” the official said.
“Had the Alastang grid station been completed, it would have reduced the load on two existing power grids and helped the state to upgrade the power supply in the valley,” he added.
Similarly, an official document reveals that construction of grid station at Ahmedpora in Magam too has been put on hold.
“The work will be started as soon as the funds are released,” the document reads.
Completion of other grid stations at Lassipora Pulwama is also facing delay due to lack of funds or government’s failure in resolving the land disputes over towers.
The official said that existing transformers and power lines are also in bad shape. “There are technical snags in electricity due to poor power infrastructure,” the official added.
In a recent meeting, the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmad Khan directed for effective monitoring of ongoing works on grid stations and strict adherence to the design, drawing and specifications, and use of quality material for creation of durable assets. He has directed the concerned authorities to submit a proposal for arrangements of funds.
“Chief Engineer System and Operations PDD has been directed to pursue the matter with the concerned authorities for release of funds,” a source privy to the meeting said.

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Offices of 12 militant organisations operating from PaK sealed, funding stopped

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Srinagar, May 18: The offices of the 12 Kashmiri militant organizations operating from the Pakistan Administered Kashmir (PaK) have been sealed, reported the newspaper Independent Urdu.
The newspaper reported that offices of all 12 organizations affiliated with the United Jihad Council were sealed, while as, the amount of office expenditure in these organizations has also been completely stopped.
Independent Urdu reported that the action has come in the backdrop of mounting pressure by the Financial Action Task Force or FATF.
This is the first time in last 32 years of militancy in Jammu and Kashmir that Pakistan has sealed the offices and also stopped financial assistance.
Recently, Pakistan took 44 members of proscribed organizations, including Mufti Abdul Raoof and Hamad Azhar — the former believed to be the brother of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leader Masood Azhar and the latter his son — in preventive detention for investigation.

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Ronaldo donates $1.5 million to fasting Gazans: Report

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Srinagar, May 18: Cristiano Ronaldo has donated $1.5 million to feed people in the besieged Gaza Strip, Palestine, against the backdrop of the holy month of Ramadan, Sputnik News reported.
The Portuguese football star has never hid the fact that he is pro-Palestine, expressing his support for Palestinians several times in the past.
In 2012 the 28-year-old star gave away his Golden Boot Award to the Real Madrid foundation, which subsequently auctioned it off to raise money for building schools in Palestine.
In 2013, he refused to swipe t-shirts with an Israeli player in a display of support for Palestinian rights.
Although he did shake hands, he excused himself by explaining that he could not wear a shirt with that country’s flag, press reported.
The incident occurred at the end of the match between Portugal and Israel for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.
A 5-year-old boy Ahmad Daubasha — sole survivor of a Palestinian family attacked by Israeli settlers, was received by Ronaldo in 2016 at the Real Madrid training center, where he photographed himself with the boy, giving him a specially-dedicated t-shirt. The Gaza Strip has been under Israeli land, air and sea blockade since June 2007, greatly impacting living standards, levels of unemployment and increasing poverty.
Palestinians have held weekly rallies along the Gaza border to protest the siege on the enclave and demand the right for refugees to return to their homes they fled during the 1948 creation of Israel.
Pro-Palestinian celebrities range from longtime activists to musicians to younger stars, calling for boycotts of artistic and scientific gatherings, divestment from Israeli businesses, etc.
The Portuguese star is known as one of the most involved in humanitarian work around the world.

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