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Lock on health centre in truant protest

Bolpur, Aug. 30: Villagers in Birbhum today locked up a health centre for four hours protesting absenteeism among doctors and nurses there.

Over 50 villagers from Narayanpur marched to the health centre around 10am and locked the main gate with a Group-D staff inside.

“If the doctors and nurses do not come on most days, what is the use of the health centre? It is better that it remains closed,” said a Harinarayan Saha, a farmer.

According to the villagers, only the Group-D staff was present at the health clinic when they raided it. “This is how it runs,” Saha said.

The villagers unlocked the health centre four hours later around 2pm.

Two doctors and four nurses were posted at the health centre two years ago to work in shifts.

“But on most days, nobody is there. The clinic is virtually non-functional,” the farmer said.

Asked why they locked up the health centre, Saha said: “As the health centre remains closed on most days, we have to go to Rampurhat subdivisional hospital 20km away. So, we locked the health centre for four hours to show our anger to the administration,” said another villager, Swapan Das.

Das said taking villagers to Rampurhat also involved extra spending. “When women are in labour, we have to arrange for a vehicle or motorised cycle-van rickshaw to take them to the Rampurhat hospital. That involves money. We want doctors to come and treat the villagers here. We will all be benefited if the health centre works.”

“A week ago, a seven-year-old boy from the village was suffering from high fever. We brought him to the health centre and found there were no doctor or nurse,” he recalled.

None of the doctors could be contacted.

Asked about absenteeism in the health centre, deputy chief medical officer of health Arunlal Mondal said: “Two doctors were posted at the health centre. We will look into the matter.”