Roko Cancer Charitable Trust founder unaware of huge expenditure incurred

Posted in February 2012

Staff Reporter
Shillong, Feb 29:
It seems the founder and Chairman of the Roko Cancer Charitable Trust, a UK based NGO, APS Chawla, is unaware of the reported anomalies with the trust in Meghalaya.
Roko Cancer Charitable Trust aims to take cancer awareness to the masses free of cost. The trust is a partner with the UK-based Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research, which is committed to fighting the disease through research and awareness. In Meghalaya it screens people for early detection of Cervic, Breast and Oral Cancer.
Speaking to reporters here on Wednesday, Chawla denied having any information of allegedly fund misappropriation by the driver of the trust here.
There are allegations that the driver of the Trust’s bus fitted with a mammography unit inside for breast and cervical cancer screening; the whole unit in the bus was readied at a cost of Rs 1 crore, is drawing a huge salary from the government.
The driver is from Punjab as the drivers locally available were unable to handle the vehicle.
It is allegedly that since the driver could not find any accommodation, he is staying in a hotel. And had submitted the bill for one month, including fooding and lodging, close to a lakh. But after several negotiations, he settled on getting a payment of Rs 45,000 per month.
Other issues related to Roko services in Meghalaya were also taken up in the State Assembly.
Chawla tried to clarify that since he lives in England, it was difficult for him to monitor all details. He said the driver in question was appointed by the Trust’s Indian head quarters in New Delhi.Even then, he said it is ‘a wrong method’, if true.
He exhorted “I am not here to make money but because of being emotionally involved” assuring that he will fully investigate the case.
Also, it was revealed that the Trust is trying to re-structure its whole setup in India due to financial and functional problems.Further, as far as taking ‘Roko Cancer’ to rural areas in hilly terrains, such as those in North East Region, he apprised that the vehicle with the cancer screening unit will be re-designed to suit the terrain approach roads.
It signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Meghalaya on April, 2010 for three years, which can be extended at the end of bond period. Meghalaya Government is supporting them with facilities like running and maintaining cost.
As per the data provided by the Trust, since April 2010 - January 2012, it has screened 7251 women for breast cancer of which 217 were tested with mammography, getting 24 suspected cases, though further tests revealed all cases to be negative. In cervical cancer, 2449 people were examined but none were even detected as suspects. In the case of oral cancer, however, nine detected positive; a total of 6019 people were screened of whom 65 patients were conducted with FNAC test. Even then, further tests will be conducted on these 9 people, to fully ascertain the possibility of being infected with cancer.To screen the patients, NGO uses liquid based cytology. The kits being used have been imported from UK and United States of America (USA), claimed to be the best technology possible.
Chawla also mentioned that Meghalaya was ‘cancer prone’ area, attributing the high rate of beetle nut consumption in the state to be a reason behind reaching the assumption.

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