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‘Begging’ bowl out for hand pumps
- Social activist collects money to repair water facility at sadar hospital

Dumka, March 2: A “begging” social activist has finally made the district officials sit up and take notice that the sadar hospital here is facing an acute water crisis as all five hand pumps on the premises are lying defunct.

Sanjay Singh, a resident of Zilla School Road, who was shocked to see the patients suffering in the absence of proper drinking water facility during a recent visit, hit the streets today, seeking donation from the residents of the town for repairing the hand pumps.

“I had gone to the sadar hospital to visit a patient. I could not believe what I saw. The patients and their attendants have to fend for themselves when it comes to making arrangements for water. After witnessing their plight, I decided to raise funds on my own to repair the hand pumps,” Singh told The Telegraph.

“What this social activist did today should serve as a lesson for the public representatives and the authorities, who turn a blind eye to the state of affairs at the sadar hospital, where patients have to pay from their pockets to quench their thirst and depend on the open market for purchasing medicines,” said one of the donors, Navin Kumar, a resident of Rasikpur locality.

Today, Singh collected around Rs 2,000 and perhaps would have continued the collection drive for a few more days had not the chairman of Dumka municipal council intervened. Amita Rakshit rushed to sadar hospital soon after coming to know about Singh’s initiative and promised to get the hand pumps repaired.

“The municipal council was not informed about the defunct hand pumps at the hospital,” Rakshit said, adding that technicians had been engaged for the repair work.

Apart from the five hand pumps, there are two wells on the hospital premises. Of them, one has dried up. “The water level in the other well is too low to cater to the everyday demand of the patients. Water from that well is mostly used for cleaning purposes,” said civil surgeon Sobhan Murmu.

He added that he had apprised the ward councillor about the crisis.

In the absence of any other source of water, most patients and their family members fetch drinking water from roadside hand pumps.

“We had approached the hospital authorities, but they pleaded helplessness,” said Mukesh Kumar, an attendant of a patient who had to spend about Rs 50 to Rs 70 to purchase bottled water.

“Such a situation persists even though Dumka is represented by JMM chief Shibu Soren and his son Hemant Soren as the MP and MLA, respectively,” rued the relative of another patient.

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