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A Special Drive for issue of health cards under Journalist Health Scheme to the Journalists would be held for 15 days throughout the State commencing from 23rd July, informed the Minister for Information Technology, Mr.K.T.Rama Rao.

He was addressing a meeting held in his chambers at camp office specially convened with the representatives of various Journalists Unions here on Saturday on the issues relating to Journalists fraternity.  He informed that 16892 accreditations cards were issued in the State, of which 11,081 Health Cards were given besides 34,107 health cards to their family members.  The Special drive is for enrolment of the left over Journalists in the State, he said.   All the District Collectors are being instructed to ensure enrolment of the Journalists which facilitates cashless medical treatment in specialized hospitals across the State, he informed.

The Minister informed that an amount of Rs. 15.00 crore  has been sanctioned to take up construction of Media Academy Building with all facilities and directed the R&B officials  to expedite its construction. On the issue raised by the Journalists representatives regarding allotment of house sites to the Journalists in the State, The Minister promised to take up the issue with the Hon’ble Chief Minister.

The Chairman, Media Academy of Telangana State, Mr.Allam Narayana informed that Rs.34.5 Crores has been allocated towards Journalist Welfare Fund and another Rs.20 Crores has been earmarked for this financial year.

The union representatives requested certain amendments to be made in the G.O.Ms.239 to facilitate issue of more number of accreditations to the Journalists at State and District level in different categories.  They appealed to bring parity among small newspapers and magazines besides giving adequate representation to the Urdu Journalists.  Responding to this, the Minister suggested them only to come out with proposed criteria in consultation with the Chairman, Media Academy.

The Commissioner, Information and Public Relations, Mr.Arvind Kumar appealed the Accreditated Journalists who have not yet applied for the health cards to apply for it immediately and make use of the government extended facility.  He asked all the DPROs in the State to see that all the accreditated journalists avail the health card facility in their respective districts without fail and make the special drive a success.

The representatives of all the Journalist Unions have informed that most of the empanelled hospitals are not allowing the health cards issued to the Journalists stating delay in payments. They also urged to set up Wellness Centres in all the erstwhile districts and see that these Wellness Centres are well equipped with necessary medicines and lab facilities. Upon which, the Minister promised to convene a meeting with the Minister for Health and concerned officials from Finance shortly and sort out the issue amicably.

Mr. Kranti Kiran, General Secretary, TUWJ asked to issue health cards to the non-accreditated and retired journalists based on the guidelines prepared by the Committee.  The Commissioner assured to pursue the matter with the concerned department for issue of government orders.

Mr.Virahath Ali, General Secretary, TSUWJ, Mr.Palle Ravi, Vice-President, TUWJ, Mr.Basava Punnaiah, General Secretary, TWJF, Mr.Syed Ismail, President, TEMJU and others were also present.

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