‘Ugly monster on verge of collapse’
BANDIPORA: The administration seems to have forgotten a dispensary it constructed in a village in northern Kashmir’s Bandipora district three years ago, which now is crumbling due to its “faulty construction” while villagers and patients watch in despair, with most of them unwilling to risk their lives to get treated here.
Sirinder is an uphill village nearly 20 kilometres from the district headquarters, tucked away into the Harmukh range of snow-capped mountains, dotted with scattered wooden houses over a vast landscape that opens into dense forests.
According to the villagers here, the department built the dispensary after ‘motivating’ locals to donate land for its new, fully concrete building, even ‘offering jobs’ there after it started functioning. Constructed by the Roads and Buildings (R&B) Department Bandipora, the structure has been complete for the past three years but stands today “like an ugly monster”, crumbling down bit by bit.
Tthe villagers here blame the contractor for its faulty construction, undertaken using ‘substandard material’, and also blame the administration for not paying any heed to what happens to their projects after being offered to contractors. “They are in deep slumber,” quipped a villager.
Not only that, though the officers in the medical department say that the building is still to be sectioned to them, the dispensary is operational with a lone staffer performing his duties in one of its unfurnished rooms. A bed is tucked in one corner, a dustbin is in another and medicines lie scattered over the windowsills. The other two rooms are left vacant, while the incomplete washrooms have been brazenly kept as storage rooms for the construction material junk”.
The villagers, however, are not aware that the building is still to be sanctioned.
“The dispensary operated in a residential house prior to the construction of the new building, where it now operates from. But it’s highly unsafe as a large chunk of the roof has got dislodged and is hanging from the ceiling. We feel unsafe even standing near the place,” said Zakir Meelu, a villager.
Blaming the administration for acting as mute spectators, the villagers said, “The fault was with both R&B and the medical department as, even after repeated requests, no one bothered to visit the spot.”
On contacting the Block Medical Officer Bandipora, Dr Sayed Rehman, he said, “The dispensary is still unsanctioned from three years and is being constructed by R&B. We had no say in the matter.” He added that the medical department and R&B were maintaining correspondence in this regard as to why the building was unsanctioned.