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Ex-Indian Gorkha army men to get free medical service in Pokhara

POKHARA: The Indian government and Manipal Teaching Hospital of Pokhara have signed an agreement to provide free medical services to the ex-servicemen of Indian Army’s Gorkha Regiment under India’s Ministry of Defence. Dean of Manipal Teaching Hospital Dr BM Nagpal and Defence Attaché of Indian Embassy in Nepal Colonel Ajay Pasbola signed a memorandum of understanding to this effect for two years, at a programme organised here today. Families of Gorkha Army personnel will also be entitled to receive medical service. The agreement, for two years in the initial phase, will be extended after that period, said Wing Commander Ravi Sharma — Assistant Military Attaché (ECHS) of Indian Embassy to Nepal. As per the agreement, former Gorkha army personnel of Indian Army and their family members will receive all kinds of medical treatments, including surgery, free of cost at Manipal Teaching Hospital. In case the ex-servicemen and their kin cannot be treated at Manipal, they will be referred to India, where they will be treated for free. The patients, however, will have to bear transport expenses. 

According to Assistant Military Attaché of the Indian Embassy Wing Commander Ravi Sharma, there are nearly 250,000 retired Gorkha army personnel. The Indian Embassy is also planning to provide similar service for retired personnel of Indian Police. Ravi Sharma said the Indian government would forge similar kinds of agreements with about 20 hospitals in Nepal, in the days ahead. Medical facilities will be provided to respective personnel, their wives, sons under 25 years, and unmarried daughters. To receive the facility, Indian Embassy will issue cards to ex-Gorkha army personnel. Within one month of registering an application for the card, the Indian Embassy will issue the cards, Ravi Sharma informed. The Indian government will pay around NRs 2 billion per year for free health service to the ex-servicemen. 

The Indian government is extending the free medical facilities under Ex-servicemen’s Contributory Health Scheme. Indian Army Gorkha regiment’s ex-captain Samar Bahadur Kshetri of Ram Bazaar in Pokhara, said the MoU had elated him. “Earlier, we used to visit various health centres in India. But now we can avail the service at our doorstep,” Kshetri said. Another former captain Dambar Bahadur Gurung said that free medical service for ex-personnel of Indian army and their family members was commendable. Indian ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said the MOU had been signed to this effect after long homework. Colonel Ajay Pasbola expressed confidence that the free medical facilities would benefit many ex-servicemen and their families. Dr Nagpal said the agreement had made the entire hospital family very glad. Established in 1994 Manipal Teaching Hospital currently has 750 beds. 

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