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Muck flies at health centre

Bolpur, Sept. 13: A group of Birbhum villagers today smeared the main gate of a health centre with mud and hung a slipper on the latch protesting absenteeism of the doctor and nurses there.

Around 150 villagers of Narayanpur — some said they had come for treatment — alleged the only doctor there, Sanjib Simlandi, attended the health centre for four days a week. “The two nurses hardly come for four or five days,” a villager added.

Some of the protesters also alleged that the district administration did not take any initiative to open a 10-bed facility set up in 2004 to admit patients. The health centre treats outdoor patients.

Today’s protest forced many patients to wait for more than 3 hours as the health centre could only be opened at 11.30am after the gate and the floor were cleaned up.

On August 30, irregularity among the staff had prompted residents of the same village to lock up the health centre with a Group-D staff inside for over four hours.

Simlandi, who today came to the health centre at 9.30am, around one and half hours late, denied he was irregular. “I come on all days. I stay at a rented home in Rampurhat, 20km away. It takes some time to come from there.” Asked why he did not stay at the quarters on the health centre compound, he said: “I treat only outdoor patients here. I don’t need to stay back.”

The doctor added that one of the nurses was on leave and had gone for a training.

A villager, Bipadtaran Majhi, said the irregularity at the health centre forced them to go to Rampurhat subdivisional hospital which involved monetary and logistical problems. “We can’t spend money on hiring vans to go to Rampurhat despite having a health facility in our village,” the farmer said.

Block medical officer of health Sumanta Mondal said he would enquire into the matter. Asked why the 10-bed health facility was not opened despite being set up eight years ago, Mondal cited “lack of infrastructure”.