MUFP HAS DONE WHAT THE STATE COULDN’T DO

Orissa Government has a Welfare Fund for Working Journalists (WFWJ) that was created to support medical treatment of affected journalists. But it does not function due to defects in constitution of the Fund.

The Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) is also not available to press persons at times of dire need.

Most of the media organizations have no standing orders and no provision for financial assistance to journalists in their employment or in contract with them.

All the persons in the profession are not financially stable to defray their hospitalization cost.

In such a situation, Laxmidhar Mohapatra, senior camera person of MBC Tv fell seriously ill under malaria that eventually precipitated multi-organ-failure and put him on ‘Haemodialysis’ at Kar Clinic, a private hospital in Bhubaneswar. It was estimated that about Rs.4.5 lakhs would be the cost of treatment.

As there was no hope for assistance from either the WFWJ or CMRF, the MUFP appealed media persons to come forward with financial assistance for
Mohapatra ‘s treatment. Between 14 March and 13 April, 2011, a sum of
Rs.2,23,731/- was contributed by media persons and handed over to the hospital towards Mohapatra’s treatment, before he was discharged. A little over Rs.4 lakhs was charged by the hospital. The rest amount was borne by the family.

On behalf of MUFP Presidium, Sri Prasanta Patnaik has circulated details of the media contributions and thanked the contributors for their “unique solidarity” and “heartfelt good-wishes and unconditional support” shown to a member of the profession at the time of dire necessity under medical exigencies.

Sri Mohapatra has been advised by the treating physicians to take complete bed rest at home and periodical check-up under strict medication and medical supervision.

As medical bills are properly met with, MUFP has closed its accounts on Sri Mohapatra and has requested friends to stop any more contribution.

“We would therefore request all of our friends not to send any funds, either in cash or through cheque for the purpose. Friends’ good wishes will be enough for
his complete recovery and resuming of duties as soon as possible”, he has said.

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