Spilled Kidney Beans

organ.jpgI could never have imagined that obesity and diseases in rich countries could possibly lead to exploitation of the healthy poor in poor countries, and that the physical ailments could be transferred just as carbon credits are traded! Carbon credits are traded to maintain the balance in nature – rich countries run industries and poor ones grow trees to compensate for the green house gases emitted; kidneys are sold to maintain the balance of ailments plaguing humans – the rich patients get the kidney and the poor one get more weaknesses along with a meagre amount of money. The irony of the situation is hard hitting.

It is horrifying to come to terms with the fact that poor laborers were forced to sell their kidneys literally at gunpoint in a nondescript house in Gurgaon for paltry sums like $ 1,000. The so-called “doctors” then sold the kidneys to rich patients ready to shell out a price more than ten times of the amount paid to the “donors”. Two points are especially striking in this case. One, the patients indulged in black market buying. The reason for this activity can easily be traced to the dearth of organs in the legal market and the long waiting list even for patients who are filthy rich. The next option is to either die waiting or get a kidney in the black market. Any rational individual would not like to die and hence the black market willingly caters to these patients, and earns tax-free income in the process. However, to maintain a steady supply of kidneys, a fixed source of people who will sell their kidneys is required and the poor of the country are the obvious targets – they need the money and they can be exploited and trodden upon. Hence, a racket matures in a country with a large populace of poor who migrate to the cities looking for jobs. The target is spotted. The client is ready. The operation begins. The poor contract laborers are picked up by providing a belief that they are being given a job and are taken to a nondescript house. The role of the “doctor” springs up in this situation and this is where the second point is striking. A doctor is one who is in one of the most sacred professions. To use one’s knowledge with such ruthlessness and extravagance is not only ridiculous but also repulsive. This has been excellently portrayed in the kidney racket in a country like India, which is perennially a hotbed for illegal market for organs.

Nevertheless, even by the Indian standards, the racket is one of the biggest in recent years. It is hitting the headlines every day in all leading newspapers and regular updates are being posted on the news channels. Dr. Amit Kumar is the alleged kingpin of the racket and the Haryana police issued a red corner Interpol notice on Monday to track him down as the police fear that he might have already left the country using his contacts. All the airports across the country have been alerted. This “doctor” used eight bank accounts. It is a multi-crore kidney transplant racket and around 500 transplants have been conducted in the racket, spanning over a period of nine years. However, the unveiling of the numbers involved has just begun. We have to wait and watch the heart wrenching stories to come out. All we can do now is hope that it is not as bad as the Nithari case, which also had happened in the peaceful suburbs of our neighborhood.

Himadri Agarwal