Sushil Modi’s promise – Bihar will become tobacco-free state
VoTV and Cancer Awareness Society, Bihar organized a successful event in Patna on the 28th of December at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS). The Chief Guest was the Deputy Chief Minister, Sushil Modi, who is also the Finance Minister and the Chairman of the Empowered Committee of State Finance Ministers for GST. Other VIPs included Ashwini Choubey – the Health Minister and Chairman of IGIMS, Mr Abhyanand – the Director General of Police; Sanjay Kumar (IAS), Executive Director, Bihar Health Society; Dr Arun Kumar, Director, IGIMS; 4 MLAs and local politicians. The meeting was attended by approximately 35 media persons attended. About 12 Victims with their relatives participated in the meeting and narrated their heart renting stories to the participants.
Vinay Dixit a 28 year young electrician, father of 3 daughters, brought out the stark fact that younger people are getting oral cancer. He narrated how he has been finding it difficult to get work because of his facial disfigurement. Many of his customers think his condition is contagious and will not let him into their homes.
Dileep Kumar’s wife related the heart-breaking story that within 18 months of getting married and shortly after the birth of their first child her husband was diagnosed with oral cancer and since then she has been running around hospitals. Her child is with her mother since she was six months old while she, herself, has spent most of the time in hospitals.
Mr Khemani narrated how his only young son is suffering from oral cancer and may lose his voice after treatment. He pleaded with the Ministers to ban gutka. Mrs Mishra narrated how all their savings were being spent in the husband’s treatment.
At the end all the ministers and VIPs signed the Pledge to fight tobacco menace in Bihar. The Health Minister spoke said that the financial loss itself caused to the state is many times more than any revenue collected. He promised to take all necessary action and invited Cancer Awareness Society to partner the Government in various initiatives.
The Dy. Chief Minister was the final speaker and said that he had never been so influenced as by this one event in the past so many years. He immediately announced that a high level inter-departmental committee would be formed to combat the tobacco menace.
He asked that in Bihar an “anti-addiction” day be announced on which all school children would take a pledge to stay away from addictions, specially tobacco. The next day, media printed articles in 16 publications the next day.