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Power cuts trigger water crisis

- GMCH plans to buy water from private parties as situation unlikely to improve

May 8: Long hours of load shedding since Saturday have caused a severe water crisis at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

GMCH superintendent Ramen Talukdar told The Telegraph that the public health engineering department and Guwahati Municipal Corporation have failed to supply adequate quantity of water to the hospital citing power cuts.

He said since the hospital does not have its own sources of water, it was heavily dependent on water supply by the PHE and GMC.

“Water shortage has hit almost all departments and wards of the GMCH, including the ICUs. Besides cleanliness, the hospital needs a huge amount of water for various purposes, including drinking and cooking food for patients. Doctors and paramedical staff also require water to maintain hygiene during their course of treating the patients and conducting various medical investigations at the hospital,” Talukdar said.

Set up in 1960, the GMCH has 2,184 beds in 29 departments. Nearly 2,000 patients visit the out patient department of the hospital everyday.

The power situation in the state has worsened with the state not being able to draw power from outside after two 400kV towers were damaged in a storm.

The towers at the 400kV double circuit Bongaigaon-New Jalpaiguri line, belonging to Power Grid, were damaged on May 3.

Most of the areas in the city, including the GMCH, are reeling under long hours of power cuts since Saturday.

Sources said even the new cabins where the patients have to pay a rent of Rs 800 to Rs 1,000 per day are also facing water crisis.

The GMCH authorities said the hospital was planning to buy water from private parties, as the power situation was unlikely to improve within this week

“Since the hospital has a strong backup of generators, the power cuts have not deprived the patients from getting treatment. But the hospital management has to spend more to purchase diesel for running the generators without any disruption,” Talukdar said.

Sources said since the generators were not centrally installed, some wards, particularly in the old building of the GMCH, would remain in dark during the power cuts.

A doctor at the old building said the air conditioners were not functioning and the situation was causing inconveniences to both doctors and patients.

“The OPDs at the old building become very hot after 10am because of rush of patients as well as power cuts. Only a few fans function at the OPDs during those hours,” a source said.

A senior doctor said the hospital authority must ensure uninterrupted back-up power by the generators installed at the hospital.