(Written by Jaspreet Singh)
Doctors and patients at the civil dispensary at Sarangpur village, adopted by MP Kirron Kher under Sansad Aadarsh Gram Yojna, heaved a sigh of relief on Tuesday, as its electricity supply was resumed after 18 days. The dispensary, which was under MPLAD Scheme, caters to a population of around 75,000 residents of Dhanas, Sarangpur and several other neighbouring villages in the region.
Electricity to the dispensary was cut off on May 23 as it was unable to pay a bill of Rs 2,75,059 since 2017, including a late payment surcharge of Rs 10,573, due to lack of funds. The supply was resumed a day after a Newsline reporter left messages with the UT Health Services Director, Municipal Corporation and engineers heading the Electricity department.
Sarpanch, Sadhu Singh, said, “The bill was not paid because we’re not given any funds. We have complained to the Municipal Corporation and they said that the issue will be resolved within a few days.”
Constructed at a total cost of Rs 29,33,600, it has facilities of laboratory, X-Ray, RNTCP/DOTs, malaria, MCH/family planning and immunization. However, most of these facilities could not be used during the last 18 days.
Pradhan Mantri Surakshit Matritva Abhiyan (PMSMA), under which free antenatal checkup is provided to all pregnant woman in the area, was also getting short shrift for want of electricity. The pregnant women, who came for a checkup, had to suffer in the scorching heat and were being examined using methods that do not involve electrical appliance.
On June 10, which saw the temperature climb to 44 degrees Celsius, the dispensary had 90 patients, who included 56 new and 34 old patients. “We are running the OPD every day but many of the laboratories and other tests cannot be conducted due to non-availability of electricity”, Dr Harpreet Singh, in charge of the dispensary had told CNL.
Several chemicals that were stored in the refrigerators got destroyed, and several medicines and vaccines were shifted to a civil dispensary at Dhanas. Polio vaccines, which have to be administered in Chandigarh on June 16 and 17, for the upcoming polio immunization round, also had to be shifted out of the dispensary. After CNL started investigating the matter, the electricity was resumed, but the patients wondered what would have happened otherwise.
“Why did it take18 days for the electricity connection to be restored? Why do authorities act only when there is some kind of pressure on them?” asked a patient.
UT Health Services Director, Dr G Dewan, said, “The infrastructure and maintenance of the dispensary is with Municipal Corporation, only manpower is given under the National Health Mission.”