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Idle cycles to reach sahiyas

The report published in The Telegraph on April 11

Don’t pedal excuses, do the job.

The admonition has come from state director of National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) Aradhana Patnaik who has slapped a showcause on East Singhbhum civil surgeon Vibha Sharan for allowing a fleet of the Centre-funded bicycles, meant for sahiyas, gather rust.

Patnaik, prompted by a report published in The Telegraph on April 11, directed the district health department to distribute the cycles among beneficiaries within a week without wasting time on getting appointments from public representatives (read MLAs) for elaborate functions.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Thursday, the mission director expressed concern over “callousness” on the part of district health officials.

“I have asked officials to explain the reason behind the delay. Lame excuses like being busy with other health schemes will not be tolerated. We had categorically asked districts to distribute cycles among rural health workers. The order has not been followed in East Singhbhum,” she said.

Patnaik said she rang up Sharan and asked her to make arrangements to give sahiyas their cycles. “I spoke to the civil surgeon this afternoon and made it clear that cycles should reach sahiyas within a week. The availability of an MLA for a function is not mandatory, giving cycles to these health workers is,” she added.

Sharan said she would act as directed. “We will not wait for MLAs and distribute cycles within a week, but only after taking mandatory affidavit from sahiyas,” she added.

In the 2011-12 fiscal, a sum of Rs 2.5 crore was allocated under NHRM to provide wheels to sahiyas across 24 districts of the state, initially in priority blocks of each.

Of the 11 revenue blocks in East Singhbhum, Chakulia, Dumuria and Dalbhumgarh were short-listed. All the three blocks are situated in forested and hilly terrain, and cycles mean better mobility for sahiyas, who bridge the gap between healthcare service providers and remote villages.

A total of 657 cycles worth Rs 18 lakh were ordered for these blocks. But only 88 were distributed in Dumuria.

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