Vasundhara Masoodi appalled during her maiden visit to Lal Ded Hospital

Disappointed over bad sanitary conditions and lack of beds for patients at Lal Ded hospital here, chairperson State Commission for Protection of Women & Child Rights (SCPWCR), Vasundhra Phatak Masoodi Thursday directed authorities to ensure safety of children and mothers.

During her maiden visit to the largest maternity hospital in the city – a day after her appointment – Masoodi said a healthy state was not possible if the women of the state were not healthy.

“During my visit to the hospital I saw that in some wards the toilets are without doors. Also, the patients were made to share bed. The pregnant women who have to undergo surgery or are crying with labour pain, they need comfort at that time, both mental and physical, but in Lal Ded they are made to share beds,” Masoodi told Greater Kashmir.

Before taking up her latest assignment, Masoodi practiced lawyer in the Supreme Court of India, High Courts of Delhi, Punjab and Haryana and Jammu and Kashmir, besides serving in various tribunals.

“I tried to open the washroom of one ward, but the hospital staff told me that an attendant is inside the toilet. I told them that I will wait for an hour till the attendant doesn’t come out. I knew that the hospital staff is lying, and after five minutes when the door opened there was no attendant there,” she said.

“You won’t believe that the washroom was in such a bad state. And the other washroom that was in the same ward was dumped with dirty linen.”

On Tuesday, the government appointed Masoodi as chairperson of the SCPWCR. The Commission was headless for almost a year after the collapse of the PDP-BJP government last year.

In absence of a chairperson, at least 197 cases – 153 in Kashmir and 44 in Jammu – are pending trail in the SCPWCR, earlier known as Women’s Commission.

Unlike other states in India, Jammu and didn’t have a commission for protection of child rights. It was only last year that the Commission was established. In other states the commission for child rights, which has the powers of a civil court, was established in 2005.