A digital X-Ray machine at sub-district hospital of Tral has been lying defunct for two months, forcing poor patients to travel long distances or cough up money in private clinics.
The hospital services more than 100 villages in the southernKashmir area.
Residents and patients said despite several pleas the healthdepartment has not repaired or replaced the X-Ray machine, causing trouble tohundreds of patients who must either go to expensive private clinics or travellong distances to Pulwama, Anantnag or Srinagar for getting an X-Ray done.
"In order to availfacilities poor patients particularly from remote belts come to this hospital,but it is irony that in absence of functional X-ray machine they are forced togo outside. The administration is causing more problems instead of giving themsome relief," said Shabir Ahmad, a resident.
He added that the machine had developed some fault but thehospital authorities have not been able to repair it since, leaving themdependent on private diagnostic centers.
Everyday dozens of patients from Tral, Awantipora, Aripal,and other areas can be seen waiting outside the X-Ray room of the hospital butafter continuous wait they return without being serviced.
Many private clinics right outside the hospital, which havedigital X-Ray machines, are always busy and crowded.
"The patients especially critical patients are facing lotsof problems due to lack of the facility inside the hospital," said Bashir Ahmadwho was attending an emergency patient.
A patient at the hospital, who identified himself asMohammad Abdullah, said despite health centre available at his doorstep he wasbeing forced to travel to Pampore and Pulwama for getting X-ray tests done.
"It becomes very embarrassing for us all when any patientneeds an X-Ray test. But what can we do, we ask the patients to get the testsdone from outside," a doctor at the hospital said.
Officials at the hospital say the defunct X-Ray machine hasbecome an issue because someone has filed a case asking why the machine waspurchased directly from Rajasthan and not within J&K.
"Due to this reasonthe hospital administration is helpless and the patients are bearing thebrunt," an official at the hospital said.