In Kulgam, PHCs operate from rented buildings

Newly-constructed buildings serve shelter for drug addicts, gamblers
In Kulgam, PHCs operate from rented buildings
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Kulgam: The government took up the construction of a building for Primary Health Center (PHC) in Aakhran, Novpora village of Devsar in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district in the year 2005.

A few years later the building was completed and handed over to the Department of Health.

However, 13 years on, the hospital, earlier designated as a sub-center, continues to function from three small rooms of an old dilapidated structure.

“Forget the patients, the hospital does not even have a place to sit for the doctors and the paramedics,” said a medico.

He said that the authorities not shifting the hospital to the new building was beyond their comprehension.

Locals rue that the two-storey new hospital building was being used by gamblers and drug addicts.

“The youth indulging in immoral activities from gambling to drug abuse can be spotted inside this building,” said an elderly Muhammad Jabar.

He said that they had, time and again, pleaded with the authorities to shift the hospital but to no avail.

“In absence of proper infrastructure in the hospital, we are forced to refer patients to District Hospital Kulgam even for minor ailments,” he said.

Chief Medical Officer (Kulgam), Dr Rafiq Dhobi said: “The new building suffered some damage during 2014 floods and needs some repairs. The estimated cost for repairs is Rs 18 lakh and once the amount is sanctioned, work will begin.”

Several hospital buildings in the district were handed over to the Department of Health by the R&B Department and JKPCC without being completed.

The PHC Muhammadpora is one such building.

“The concerned agency had only completed a single storey when it handed over the building to the health authorities. Later, despite drawing all funds, they left the work incomplete,” a medic said.

He said that the hospital lacks space to treat the patients and install diagnostic equipment.

Similarly, the PHC in Devsar was also handed over to the Department of Health without completion.

Two of the buildings of PHC Kelam are being used as accommodation by the flood victims of 2014.

“It has been more than six years now and the flood victims have not been shifted from there,” said a medic.

PHC Singam also continues to operate from a two-room rented accommodation.

“The building for it was sanctioned long back but the construction is yet to start,” an official said.

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