Srinagar: Cancer patients visiting and admitted at the State Cancer Institute (SCI) Kashmir are left without elevator access, compelling them to navigate stairs or be physically carried.
Despite the elevator having been installed in this significant multi-crore project, the facility remains inaccessible to the patients.
The unresolved issue of non-payment for the installation is being cited as the primary cause for this distressing situation.
Visuals of cancer patients being carried in wheelchairs, on stretchers through steep ramps, and sometimes even being carried by a few people are common at the SCI.
The weakest of patients, the terminally ill, those undergoing various cancer treatment therapies, operated ones and to-be-operated ones being forced onto the treacherous floors on foot or other carrying aids are heart breaking. An employee at the hospital said that patients had to go into the OPD or come down for investigations through three steep stairs.
“One can often see breathless patients stopping mid-way,” he said.
The employee at the hospital said that the patients need at least two attendants to support them and the moving around in the building causes “great tribulations” to their already feeble selves.
As per the officials at SKIMS, Soura, the lift facility was completed and started operating for a few months after its installation.
The five-floor building of State Cancer Institute houses Oncology Departments and major diagnostic equipment.
Set up with an initial central funding of Rs 120 crore, the institute is the only holistic center for treatment of cancer in Kashmir, and caters to entire J&K.
Medical Superintendent SKIMS Soura, Farooq Jan said that the lift was in ‘operative condition’ but the institute was unable to operate it.
“The agency that installed the lift has some payment issues. We have been working on it and are quite positive that this will be sorted out soon,” he said.
On whether the funds that had been granted by GoI for the project did not suffice for the project, Jan said, “The elevator was not part of the initial DPR. It was added later, and that has caused some issues.”
Secretary Health and Medical Education, J&K Government, Bhupinder Kumar told Greater Kashmir that the government had already held meetings with Director SKIMS, Soura about the issue.
“We are working for an early resolution of the matter,” he said.