Villagers appeal to Governor to complete 1982-sanctioned NTPHC
SHOPIAN: Languishing incomplete with no sanction of funds since 1982, construction of the New Type Primary Health Centre (NTPHC) at Imamsahib Tehsil headquarters has now turned into a nightmare for over 35 villages in the area while the locals continue to suffer and are forced to visit the far-off places for even minor treatments.
Even assurances by former health minister Lal Singh, who held the portfolio in the 2008 Congress-PDP coalition government, could not end the health care problems of the people in area, locals said. They said that the area has been neglected by every successive government and now the Governor’s dispensation is repeating the same.
This NTPHC, according to officials from the state health services department, was sanctioned in 1982 after powerful demonstrations from the public because of the lack of health care facilities. Since then the authorities only succeeded in constructing a one-stoery structure whose slab was laid only in September 2018. It is now again abandoned by the authorities.
“This NTPHC was sanctioned three decades ago, but work on the building was started in 2008. The building now has a one-storey structure but without any use to the locals,” one of the locals said, adding that “Choudary Lal Singh visited our village when he was Minister of Health and assured speedy completion of the building. But nothing like that was done on the ground.”
Since then, officials from the Health Department said, only seven percent funds were ever released. The Imamsahib Tehsil headquarters has 40 villages, but no less than 35 villages in its radius and surrounding areas were craving health care facilities since the independence of India.
“Despite the known situation in Shopian, taking patients to health centres in Srinagar and neighbouring districts not only costs us money and time but it leads to cases turning complicated and sometimes death occurs on the way to those hospitals,” said Abdul Rasheed Bhat, a local from the area, adding that none of the hospitals in the district have better facilties, like doctors and machinery, to make shifting patients there worthwhile.
Locals from the area said that the sub-centre operating from a rented building at Imamsahib market has one doctor and three paramedic staffers, which is in no way sufficient compared to the number of inhabitants of this huge area without health care facilities. “We time and again demonstrated before the authorities to end our problems, but they always acted as mute spectators to our woes. For a minor treatment, we are forced to go to Shopian district hospital or hospitals based in Pulwama Shopian,” Javid Ahmad Sheikh, a local, said.
Locals said that there should be two hospitals in this area, but unfortunately the authorities have failed to complete construction of even one. “All the dispensations rejected our demands by not releasing funds; now we have only one door to knock at, that is of Governor Satya Pal Malik. Now we request him to kindly help us in getting out of this long-pending problem by ordering speedy completion of funds,” Riyaz Ahmad, another local, said.
Chief Medical Officer, Shopian, Dr Abdul Rasheed told Kashmir Reader there were no funds released by the government for the building’s completion. “We laid slab on it last year when some funds were released by the government,” he said, adding that his office has put the NTPHC under the list of languishing projects. But as of now there were no funds to resume the construction work.
Dr Rasheed added that the hospital was scheduled to be completed within Rs 234 lakhs but only Rs 17 lakhs have been released by the government so far.