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Mamata plans SSKM annexe

Calcutta, Sept. 8: Mamata Banerjee today promised to revamp a hospital that has been lying in ruins for years and turn it into an annexe of SSKM Hospital.

Ramrikdas Haralalka Hospital in Bhowanipore, 1km from SSKM, has a sanctioned strength of 130 beds but has only 50 beds now. Nineteen patients are admitted to the hospital.

“The building is crumbling. A new building will come up here and it will be attached to SSKM. Many patients come to SSKM every day and it is difficult for the hospital to admit everybody,” the chief minister said after a visit to the Bhowanipore hospital this afternoon. “It will be an annexe of SSKM. There will be many facilities here.”

Had the Ramrikdas Haralalka Hospital been functioning to its strength, it would have eased the pressure on SSKM at a time there has been a dengue outbreak in the city. Mamata has been asking people to come to government hospitals and CMC-run clinics for diagnosis and treatment of dengue. But the lack of beds at the government hospitals has forced patients to take admission in private units.

On June 6 last year, the health department had said 40 beds at Ramrikdas Haralalka Hospital would be reserved for orthopaedic patients from SSKM for receiving post-operative care. “But we stopped sending patients about five months ago because of the bad condition of the hospital’s central building,” said Pradip Mitra, the director of the Institute of Post-graduate Medical Education and Research, SSKM.

In 2009, the CMC had termed the Ramrikdas Haralalka Hospital building “bipadjanak (dangerous)” but no repairs have been done since.

Mamata said today: “I am shocked to see the condition of the hospital. When we were children, we used to come here. There were many facilities then. Now it has turned into a garbage dump yard.”

Urban development minister Firhad Hakim said the chief minister, who also holds the health portfolio, had instructed health secretary Sanjay Mitra to set a deadline for completing the new building.

A mosquito-elimination drive was conducted at Writers’ by the CMC this morning.