Health centre running from tin shed, locals suffer
Will be shifted within ten days: Atal Dullo
Anantnag, Jan 21: The Public Health Centre (PHC) at Vessu Qazigund in this south Kashmir district, running from a tin shed, has been waiting for the last sixteen years to get shifted in the newly constructed building, with locals suffering for want of healthcare facility.
There has been a considerable delay in the shifting of PHC Vessu – from the doctors’ quarters to the newly constructed building, the locals rue.
The villagers said they have contributed in “every possible way” to ensure the completion of the construction. “We have even donated a part of the land.”
The construction of this building was completed in 2003 and since then, the PHC still runs from a tin shed and couple of rooms meant for the residence of doctors. It has not been shifted yet, said Mukhtar Ahmad, a local.
“We were delighted when the government announced the construction of the new building and subsequently started the work”, another resident Basharat Ahmad said. “But even years after the completion of the building, the PHC is still not shifted. What was the fun of spending crores of rupees then?”
The locals said they fail to understand “even a single reason” behind the delay in shifting of the PHC. They also said that out of the sanctioned strength of 5 doctors, only 3 are working at present. “There is only one staff nurse who also is not available for service. In spite of the availability of dental infrastructure and other equipments, the services are not being carried out,” they said.
Given the scenario, people said they are forced to visit other hospitals for treatment.
Altaf Ahmad, a student, said government only makes tall claims of upgrading healthcare in rural areas but does nothing on the ground.
He said PHC Vessu “has its long history, from being the First Aid Centre to a dispensary; and then to the level of PHC, it took almost hundred years to reach to this stage”.
“It is unfortunate that due to minor requisition, the PHC is yet to be shifted due to the laxity of government”, he added.
Abdul Razzaq, a senior citizen, said, “The PHC is located near the national highway where accidents are rampant. But this doesn’t serve any purpose.”
“This is the height of apathy on behalf of the health department. Despite our repeated requests no heed has been paid to resolve the issue,” Ghulam Mohideen, Auqaf president told GNS adding that it was the Auqaf committee that facilitated the acquisition of land for the PHC.
The committee members said that an X-Ray machine was donated for the PHC by an NGO. Also, an electric transformer was issued for the centre.
Mohideen said the new building needs only finishing touches like electrification, water supply and sanitation, “but the health department has shown no intent to take it over”.
When contacted, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Fazil Kochak said the payments in full had been made to the JKPCC which did not complete the work despite repeated reminders.
“We have asked the government to take action in this regard,” the CMO told GNS.
Principal Secretary Health and Medical Education, Attal Dullo told GNS that the building is under execution since 2004 and the present status is that the main building is complete along with doctors and paramedics quarters.
Asked why the hospital is not made functional, Dullo said there was a dispute between the J&K Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) and the J&K Power Development Department (JKPDD) due to which the electricity connection could not be provided.
“Now due to the intervention of DC Kulgam, the matter has been resolved and the hospital shall be shifted within ten days,” he said