Soundboxes at one of the pandals near the Tamluk hospital. Picture by Jahangir Badsa
Tamluk, Sept. 17: Loudspeakers at four Vishwakarma puja pandals blared for hours within 100 metres of an East Midnapore district hospital, causing inconvenience to patients.
Three of the four pujas were organised by Trinamul workers, which apparently prevented authorities from complaining. Water resources investigation minister Soumen Mahapatra inaugurated three of the four pujas this morning.
A high court ruling bans loudspeakers within 300 metres of a hospital.
“How can we protest when the minister himself inaugurated the pujas and the drivers of ambulances and other hospital vehicles were involved. Who is going to protect us when the administration itself has been ignoring the fact that loudspeakers are blaring close to a hospital?” a senior doctor at Tamluk hospital said.
Hospital superintendentPrakash Barui, however, said: “I did not hear any noise. Nor did any patient lodge any complaint with me. How can I go and ask the puja organisers to lower the volume?”
The minister said he had requested the organisers to lower the volume when he had gone to inaugurate the pujas.
“Some relatives of patients had complained to me about the blaring loudspeakers. I had requested the organisers to lower the volume. Now, if I get any more complaint, I will ask police to take action ,” Mahapatra said.
Three of the pujas were organised by INTTUC-run District Hospital Transport Workers’ Union, Hospital More Drivers’ Association and Chhandabani Drivers’ Union.
Another puja was being organised by the Hospital More Rickshaw and Van Rickshaw Chalak Union.
The patients, doctors and nurses complained that at least 50 loudspeakers and soundboxes blared through the day.
President of the Trinamul Youth Congress of Tamluk, Chanchal Khanra, said: “The transport workers wait for this day for the whole year. They enjoy the whole day and listen to music. How can we oppose it?”
Niranjan Sahu, 75, a heart patient hailing from Bhupatinagar in Contai and is undergoing treatment in the district hospital, said: “The doctors have advised me to sleep. But I could not sleep because of the loudspeakers. I got admitted here this morning with breathing problems. I told the doctors about the problem. But they pleaded helplessness.”
Tamluk subdivisional officer Sashi Kumar Chowdhury said he had not received any complaints either from the hospital authorities or from the patients or doctors.
“We shall definitely take legal action if we receive a complaint,” the SDO said.