Army stays put in hospital building for 19 years, villagers suffer

SRINAGAR: A hospital building constructed for the benefit of the villagers in Krusan, Lolab is under the Army occupation for last 19 years while as the sub-health center of the area is operating from a single room. Completed in 1996, the hospital building was taken over by Army same year and till date the occupation continues.
Abdul Fateh Lone, sarpanch of Krusan village told Kashmir Reader that it was after a lot of toil and efforts that a hospital was sanctioned for the village. But the villagers could not taste the fruits of their long wait and patience.
“This hospital building was constructed for the welfare of poor people but ironically army occupied it soon after its completion and while as the health centre of the village is operating from a single rented room,” Lone said.
In 1986 Krusan sub-health centre was setup in a private rented room. After 10 years of perusal by the villagers, the department constructed its own two stories building in 1996 and equipped it with all primary medical facilities. But only two weeks after its opening, the building was occupied by army. Presently it is under the occupation of 28 Rashtriya Rifles of Army.
While people of the area have to travel about 17 kilometers to reach district hospital Kupwara in case of serious health problems, the sub-health center in the village is running from a single room for last 30 years.
Staff members posted at the health center are scared to divulge any details for obvious reasons but admit that the center does not serve any purpose in its present condition.
“Our officers know what the issue is,” they said.
Altaf Ahmad Khan, a local resident said that the health unit with only two female nurses is operating from the same room from last 30 years.
“This is shame for higher authorities and politicians who despite being aware of our sufferings have never paid any attention,” Altaf lamented.
Though the locals have approached officers of the health department, MLA’s and other politicians but the building could not be freed from Army.
“We twice met our local MLA Ab Haq Khan and the concerned CMO’s. Every time they assured that this matter would be sort-out but nothing happened,” Lone said.
This hospital was supposed to serve as sub-health centre for adjoining villages like Krusan, Maidanpora, Tangchakh, Badibera, Daramwari and other villages having an estimated population of around 10,000.
Chief Medical Officer, Kupwara Dr G N Lone told Kashmir Reader that letters sent to army and higher officials of health department evoked no reply.
“We have correspondence with the army and health officials regarding the occupied building but never got a reply,” Dr Lone said.
He said that they have asked the army to pay the rent for the years of occupancy. “If they are not going to vacate, then should pay the amount so that we can build another building,” he said.
Deputy Commissioner, Kupwara, Rajiv Ranjan said his office wasn’t aware about any such matter. When informed by Kashmir Reader, he took up the matter with Block Medical Officer Sogam and directed him to take up the issue with the commandant officer the unit.
“On the guidelines of DC Kupwara, I wrote a letter to the Commanding Officer (CO) of army and personally met him today to ask him to vacate the building. The CO said that he would take up this matter with General Officer Commanding (GOC) and soon this building will be vacated,” BMO Sogam, Dr Firdous said.