Anantnag: The people of Akura area, here in Anantnag district, go to the same place for health care as the local cattle – at the so-called New Type Primary Health Centre (NTPHC) that shares its building as well as entrance with the local veterinary unit.
The health department, for the past five years now, has been maintaining that this is a temporary arrangement. No steps whatsoever have been taken, however, to improve on this temporary arrangement.
More than 5,000 people are dependent on this NTPHC for their health care needs. These people term it as humiliation to share space with cattle.
“We have been humiliated for more than 5 years now. Despite repeated requests to the administration, nothing has been done to address our plight,” Nazir Ahmad Dar, a resident of the area, said.
The building in question belonged to a government school that was shifted from the place some years back. Some rooms were allocated to the NTPHC and a couple of others to the veterinary centre of the Animal Husbandry department.
“We were told a new building will be constructed for the NTPHC and it will be shifted there. Don’t know when that is going to happen,” another resident, Ghulam Rasool Bhat, lamented.
The residents are even more furious with the fact that the cattle have better facilities at the center than what the NTPHC offers them. “They have a doctor in place and all we have here are a few technicians. The people of the area are really being humiliated in this manner and no one is even listening,” the residents said.
They said that during normal days they avoid going to the center for the plain fact that they will have to enter the center along with cattle. “We travel to Anantnag or other places to save ourselves from the humiliation. But there are days when going to Anantnag is not an option. We have to visit the NTPHC and it is really annoying and frustrating,” the residents said.
Besides, the locals say, it is not safe to be in close vicinity of sick animals as they might pick infections from the cattle.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad Shah, in May 2019 said that the NTPHC will soon be shifted to a new building.
Two years down the line, he repeated the same while talking to Kashmir Reader, though he said that the Covid pandemic was preventing the shift.
“The new building is complete and it was being used as a Covid hospital. We are not shifting the centre yet, just in case we might need a Covid hospital again,” Shah told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the centre will be shifted as soon as the pandemic threat subsides. The people in the area, meanwhile, might have to wait for a long time given how the pandemic is panning out.