Patients cry foul at medical meet
ASI to take over eight heritage buildings
Chartered school bus strike from July 1
City trader rescued
Hospital balcony collapse kills one
Forgery fodder for ‘subversion’
Murder mars visit

 
 
PATIENTS CRY FOUL AT MEDICAL MEET 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 15: 
A mass convention organised by the Calcutta chapter of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Saturday on improving doctor- patients relations in the wake of the state-wide criticism sparked by the Kunal Saha case, turned out to be a stormy one.

Apart from speakers from the medical practitioners’ community, the convention held at NRS Medical College and Hospital was attended by people from various professions, like journalists, lawyers, singers and even ordinary patients.

The meeting witnessed stormy scenes as the speakers attacked medical practitioners for their shortcomings and the IMA members in turn attacked the media for “over-reacting” to the Saha case.

The members of the forum, who participated in the discussion, did not directly mention the Kunal Saha case. They also did not mention the two doctors who were found guilty of negligence in the death of Kunal Saha’s wife, Anuradha, in 1998 as the matter is sub-judice.

But most of the doctor-speakers tried to discourage aggrieved patients from going into litigation as this would not reform negligent doctors.

“Increased litigations will only escalate the cost of treatments. This cannot improve doctor-patient relations,” said Krishnendu Mukherjee, one of the speakers among the doctors.

Reacting sharply to the IMA statement, Kunal Saha told the The Telegraph over telephone from the US on Saturday evening: “The attempt of the IMA in organising this kind of a meeting and making such a statement is very clear. Their intention is to protect the two convicted doctors who are responsible for the death of my wife. But this will not help them (IMA) stop the people from raising their voices against the malpractice of the doctors.”

However, speakers belonging to other professions were critical of “ill treatment” by doctors. Many of them narrated their individual experiences in this regard. A common grievance was refusal of doctors to attend to patients on weekends.

“A family with an ailing member has to spend a trying time as doctors are not available between Saturday evening and Monday morning. This is extremely unfortunate,” said Ajit Pande, singer and former MLA.

Milan Mukherjee, lawyer, urged the doctors to be “kind” and hear out the complaints of the relatives of patients.

Jyotirmoy Majumdar, former all-India IMA president, defended the physician community in his speech. “It is easy to criticise but people must understand the ground realities,” he said.

He elaborated on the kind of allegations often brought against doctors by patients. “Patients complain that a doctor has refused to attend to him or her after making them wait for a long time. But what they do not understand is that a doctor would refuse his patient only when he is overworked and realises that he would not be able to examine the patient properly,” he pointed out.

   

 
 
ASI TO TAKE OVER EIGHT HERITAGE BUILDINGS 
 
 
BY SOUMITRA DAS
 
Calcutta, June 15: 
The Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) proposes to take over eight heritage buildings in Bengal, three of which are in Calcutta, said Kasturi Gupta Menon, ASI director-general, on Saturday morning when she went to visit Clive house in Dum Dum and Hasting’s house in Barasat.

Among the eight are certain monuments in Murshidabad, including two sections of the Imambara, the Hazarduari and the fortifications; Dupleix’s palace in Chandernagore; the old Asiatic Society building in Park Street, which is still occupied; the partially demolished Currency Building in Dalhousie Square, which is yet to be notified; the two synagogues in the Brabourne Road area, David Maghan and Bethel; and the Pathra group of temples which were saved from destruction by Yasin Pathan, who has turned into something of a folk hero.

She said: “I am particularly keen on the takeover of the two synagogues because they have nobody to look after them.”

Following years of neglect, nature has wreaked havoc with both the houses where Robert Clive and Warren Hastings lived. They have lost their roofs after years of exposure to the downpours of monsoon. Huge trees have struck root deep into the walls of both buildings. From afar both look as if they are crowned with a jungle of foliage. Large sections have collapsed in the past two-three years.

But whereas, Clive house, situated as it is on a mound, is in isolated splendour, the Barasat building is hemmed in by ugly governmental structures of recent vintage. Till recently, the latter was in use as a government office.

Gupta Menon first went around Clive house, which is still occupied by squatters. Along with other ASI officers, she clambered up the debris of the roof. The sky was visible through the gaping hole. The officers pointed out the cast iron fireplace, which is still intact. She instructed Bimal Bandopadhyay, who heads ASI in the eastern region, to ensure that the portion which has collapsed is covered with tarpaulin.

Banani Kakkar of the NGO Public told her that it was the oldest existing brick structure of the Raj, and the London-based organisation on conservation, English Heritage, was keen on offering the know-how to restore it.

She also visited the site next to Clive house, where excavation began last year. It has revealed the evidence of an ancient settlement. She said though the trenches were covered before the onset of monsoon, work will continue and will start once again after the Pujas.

Gupta Menon said the Calcutta office of ASI had proposed that both Clive house and Hastings house be taken over. She will return to Delhi and go through the related papers before taking a decision, for otherwise funds cannot be allotted for their restoration. But, nonetheless, she wanted an estimate of costs involved so that the process of decay can be arrested.

   

 
 
CHARTERED SCHOOL BUS STRIKE FROM JULY 1 
 
 
BY A CORRESPONDENT
 
Calcutta, June 15: 
Students in Calcutta and elsewhere in the districts will face a trying time with school buses affiliated to West Bengal Contract Carriage Owners and Operators’ Association (WBCOA) set to go off the road indefinitely from July 1. Almost all city schools will reopen after the summer vacation by then.

Chartered bus-owners on Saturday decided to go in for the strike to protest “inaction” on part of the administration to stop private vehicles offering car-pool services to students and office-goers. The decision was reached unanimously on Saturday at a marathon meeting at the association office.

Himadri Ganguly, general secretary of WBCOA, said repeated requests to transport department officials and the police had “fallen on deaf ears”. The association had observed a day’s token strike on May 10.

According to Ganguly, most of the private cars are owned by school teachers and guardians, and carry 10 to 12 students daily. As a result, the demand for association-controlled vehicles has come down “phenomenally”. “If this continues, we will go out of business”, he said.

Sandhi Mukherjee, additional commissioner of police (traffic), said on Saturday that the police were looking into the matter. Prashant, director of Public Vehicles Department, refuted the allegation about “inaction” on the part of his officials. “If we get complaints against private car-owners illegally carrying students to schools, then we shall definitely take action,” he said.

   

 
 
CITY TRADER RESCUED 
 
 
FROM A STAFF REPORTER
 
Dhanbad, June 15: 
Police have rescued city-based mica trader Alok Rajgarhia and his driver Jitendra Rai from Dumri village in Lakhisarai district of north Bihar. They were abducted from Dhanbad railway station on June 12. One armed person was arrested. The main accused, in whose house Rajgarhia and his driver were confined, however, managed to escape.

Police superintendent Murarilal Meena said in course of raids in Begusarai, sleuths came to know that Rajgarhia had been kept in the house of one Pinku Singh in Dumri village, under Barahiya police station.

   

 
 
HOSPITAL BALCONY COLLAPSE KILLS ONE 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 15: 
Ramlal Hela, 50, an employee of Beleghata Infectious Diseases Hospital, was killed and seven others were injured when the balcony of the staff quarters collapsed on Saturday afternoon, says a staff reporter. The injured were admitted to Nilratan Sirkar Medical College and Hospital where the condition of three workers was stated to be critical.

   

 
 
FORGERY FODDER FOR ‘SUBVERSION’ 
 
 
BY A STAFF REPORTER
 
Calcutta, June 15: 
Seven persons allegedly involved in subversive activities were arrested from Baguiati in North 24-Parganas during an overnight raid yesterday.

But police failed to arrest the mastermind behind the operation. “We have contacted our counterparts in adjacent districts and Calcutta. More arrests are expected soon,” said an officer.

The police recovered forged postal stamps, court stamp papers and Indian currency showing a total value of Rs 1 crore. One foreign-made pistol, two walkie-talkies, four cellphones and two Maruti cars were also seized.

Preliminary investigations suggest that the seven had links with subversive organisations. “One of the arrested, Md Icha Biswas, has links with Bangladeshi criminals,” said an official of Baguiati police station.

Sources said the forged documents were probably sold in the market to fund local operatives.

Acting on a tipoff, the police arrested Biswas from Hatiari area in Baguiati. During interrogation, he revealed the names of six of his accomplices who were then arrested in simultaneous raids.

   

 
 
MURDER MARS VISIT 
 
 
FROM OUR CORRESPONDENT
 
Behrampore, June 15: 
On the eve of minister Anisur Rahaman’s visit to his Domkal constituency today, a CPM activist was killed and six injured in a shootout by unidentified miscreants.

Last night’s incident at Joranpur village under Domkal sub-division sent jitters through the district administration even as the minister of state for animal husbandry arrived here today to attend a meeting of the CPM’s Murshidabad district committee.

According to party sources, Rahaman met district officials and directed them to step up raids on miscreants. But no one has been arrested so far.

Sub-divisional police officer, Domkal, Ajoy Thakur said men armed with crude bombs and country-made revolvers had raided a primary school where Muzammel Mondal (38) and six others were sleeping. “They started firing indiscriminately, killing Mondal on the spot and injuring six others,” he said, adding that the injured were admitted to Behrampore Sadar Hospital.

The official said the murder could have been a revenge for a feud two years ago. “We are investigating the matter and will be able to apprehend the culprits in a day or two.”

Narayan Das, secretary of the CPM Domkal zonal committee, however, accused local Congress activists for the murder. “This is the handiwork of the Congress which has unleashed terror in the area to consolidate itself in the rural belt before the panchayat elections early next year,” he alleged.

Countering the charge, local Congress MP Adhir Chowdhury said: “The CPM is out to malign the Congress by levelling false charges against us. Domkal is a CPM stronghold and the murder is nothing but the culmination of intra-party squabbles.”

   
 

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