Medical facilities on ‘killer highway’ spark controversy as Dispur delays its opening
By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, February 13: The voters of the greater Dimoria area in Kamrup (M) district are stuck on the puzzle as to why the only 200-bed hospital at Sopur in Kamrup (M) has been constructed - to save people's lives or to buy votes. There are allegations that if the hospital is opened now, it will upset the applecart of the ruling Congress in the state.
Even after the completion of the hospital, it has been lying idle. The precious instruments of the hospital, according to the local people, are getting damaged due to prolonged nonuse. A section of people in the locality has, however, smelt a rat - and says that circles concerned are planning to open the hospital in 2016, ahead of the Assembly polls so as to 'buy' votes with it.
The hospital, foundation stone of which was laid by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in 2010, was complete towards the end of last year. In his iugural speech, according to the local people, the Chief Minister was on record telling the gathering that besides benefitting the local people, the hospital, first of its kind in Kamrup(M) district, would be of immense help for people who get injured in accidents on the Hatiol Highway 37.
In the Sopur stretch, tiol Highway 37 has a nickme - killer highway - as the highway is accident-prone and in most of the accidents the injured die. This is, according to the local people, because the injured are either taken to the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) or to the hospital at gaon. Both GMCH and the hospital at gaon are quite far from Sopur or its nearby areas and that leads to the death of most of people who get injured in accidents on the tiol highway. Besides helping the local populace, the hospital will be very beneficial for emergency treatment in the event of accidents.
"When viewed from this angle, the importance of the hospital is immense - even the difference of a day or two may make a vast difference in the loss of life in the event of any accidents," the people of the locality say.
"This is not all. The damage that may be incurred if the functioning of the hospital is further delayed is beyond measure. The hospital is an asset of Rs 20 crore, including around Rs 2 crore precious instruments meant for falsities like ICU for neotal care, the blood bank, operation theatre, the morgue with as many as eight freezers etc. If the hospital is opened now, it will upset the Congress' applecart in the 2016 Assembly elections. The local MLA, Akon Bora, is silent on the opening of the hospital now," said a section of the local people.
Another section, however, says that Health Minister zrul Islam is reluctant to open the hospital now for reasons best known to him.
The Health Department, however, says that they lack adequate number of doctors and other paramedical staff, and as such they are not in a position to open the hospital now.
The local people also say that apart from the Health Department, the district administration is also not showing any interest to open the hospital now. "We're among the would-be beneficiaries of the hospital. We don't want any such medical facilities that are used to buy our democratic rights to cast conscience vote. How come political parties with vested interests treat us as commodities and dare to leave a complete hospital to lie idle only to open it before the Assembly elections so as to buy our votes? We aren't commodities. If the State Health Department doesn't have manpower, why has it spent Rs 20 crore from the public exchequer? We want this hospital be dismantled if it is kept for buying our votes," a section of angry people of the locality say.