Sopore: Botingoo village in Sopore township of district Baramulla is suffering a serious deficiency in health care as its primary health centre (PHC), located in the middle of this village, lacks any doctor or other much-needed facilities. Villagers are forced to rely on other health facilities in Sopore town, which is more than 10 kilometres away.
Established in 1960 in a rented building, the Botingoo village PHC has no doctor or even machines for such purposes as ultrasounds, ECGs or X-Rays. All the centre has is a fridge but it cannot be used as the centre has no electricity available.
Thousands of people from Botingoo and adjacent villages like Magripora, Mukam and Mundji are completely dependent on this PHC, but due to a lack of staff and other basic facilities, they are forced to travel to other areas, far from their villages.
Haji Nisar Ahmad Ganie, who heads the village developmental committee, told Kashmir Reader that almost 700 to 800 families and families from other villages nearby are dependent on this PHC for their health care, but due to the non-availability of a doctor, everyone suffers.
“The PHC is running on a few elements in a rented building from the last 60 years. There is no doctor here, just a staff of three persons who include a sweeper, a pharmacist and a nurse to look after the patients. The best of it is that the PHC has no health care machine or even electricity. Whenever we go to the concerned officials to report our problems, they say let the new building get ready, everything will be solved,” Nisar Ahmad said.
Botingoo village has been given permission for a new PHC building on the Sopore-Bandipora highway, on which construction started in 2008 and is still going on at snail’s pace with no sign of completion even after a decade.
“We have been promised a new building for our PHC, but it has been left unattended due to which it has become a hub for immoral activities around our village where local boys do drugs and gambling. We have now hired a village person on our own money to take care of this building, but how many more years will it take to complete this small structure?” Nisar Ahmad questioned.
Kashmir Reader came to know that, according to sources, some healthcare machines were brought for this PHC some years ago but they have not been used till date but have been kept at the house of the Numberdar of this village.
When contacted, the Botingoo Numberdar, Farooq Ahmad Bhat, told Kashmir Reader that there are some machines which have been kept at his house “for safety purposes”, but when asked by this correspondent why they have not been put in use and what types of machines they are, Bhat showed ignorance and said he doesn’t know anything about it. Then he dropped the call.
Meanwhile, the Sopore Block Medical Officer, Dr Sami, told Kashmir Reader that the new PHC building, which is under construction, will be ready in the next three months and everything will alright as soon as it is put to use.
When asked that, left unattended the building has become a hub of immoral activities, he replied that it is the responsibility of the Roads and Buildings department “as the building is under them right now”.
However, when asked about the machines which have been kept at the Numberdar’s home, Dr Sami denied having information about it and said he would only get back about the matter when he has investigated it.
When informed that there is no doctor available in PHC Botingoo and that it even lacks the basic facility of electricity, Dr. Sami replied, “We have an acute shortage of staff in Sopore about which I have already talked to my seniors. The doctor of PHC Botingoo was transferred last year, as soon as the new doctor comes to the post, it will be filled. About electricity, the PHC needs no electricity.
“All issues are genuine and will be redressed very soon,” Dr Sami concluded.