SRINAGAR: At Government Psychiatric Disease Hospital Srinagar, Rs 3.5 lakh are spent each month to cater to dietary needs of indoor patients, but the inmates at the hospital are provided with menial diet that includes only rice, pulses and vegetables.
An RTI filed by activist Mushtaq Khan reveals that the diet served to the patients at Valley’s sole mental healthcare facility is largely poor with no inclusion of supplements like milk, egg, chicken or mutton which according to experts can further influence the mental health condition.
“The diet served to the patients is very poor, I am witness to it. They don’t serve non-veg, not even once a week. All these patients get rice, pulses, vegetable, tea and roti. No eggs or milk is included in the menu. With lack of proper diet, I fail to understand how they expect the patients to get better. Research has proved that a number of mental health conditions may be influenced by dietary factors,” said Khan who is also a medico.
Medical Superintendent of the hospital, Dr Mohammmad Khaleel said they don’t include non-veg, cheese and other supplements in the menu because the funds are insufficient. “This hospital is always occupied. We provide four meals (breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner) free to all admitted patients. As far as protein intake is concerned, it is provided in the form of pulses, lentils,” Dr Khaleel told Kashmir Reader.
However, sources said the hospital has received a dietary budget of Rs 20 lakh for 2013-14. Each month, Rs 3.5 lakh is spent on food for around 70 indoor patients. Based on the calculations, a sum of Rs 5000 is spent every month on each inmate and around Rs 200 a day on a menu that does not include even eggs.
It is pertinent to mention that in Jammu, indoor patients at the Psychiatric Diseases Hospital are given 250 grams of milk, 6 rotis (bread), and boiled egg at breakfast, five chappatis, rice, dal and vegetables on lunch, and special meals on festivals and national holidays.