Pradesh Congress committee members sport helmets as a mark of protest at MGM hospital on Monday. (Bhola Prasad)
Helmets were the talking point at Sakchi’s MGM Medical College and Hospital on Monday. No, the hospital staff were not playing any game or taking part in a bike rally.
Instead, members of the Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee’s East Singhbhum unit were donning the headgear on the hospital premises and urging the staff to do the same to protect themselves from crumbling chunks of concrete. The unique form of protest was aimed at underscoring the risks that the dilapidated buildings pose to staff and patients alike.
During the agitation, which continued for two hours, party supporters went around different wards, requesting hospital staff to wear helmets while on work.
“MGM is the biggest government hospital in Kolhan region, but it is wallowing in neglect, thanks to zero maintenance. The hospital has witnessed several incidents of roof cave-ins, yet no measure was taken to repair the buildings. Hence, we thought of staging a protest by wearing helmets so that the hospital administration and the district health department take notice,” said Bharat Singh who led the protests.
A senior functionary of the district unit of Jharkhand Pradesh Congress Committee, Singh, with more than 50 protesters in tow, threatened to beef up the agitation if no action is taken.
MGM had its first major brush with mishap when the blood bank building collapsed in October, 2011.
Next year in April, the roof of the burns care unit gave in. The same month, the roof of the orthopaedic ward collapsed.
Again in September 2012, a portion of the emergency ward caved in. It was the turn of corridor that leads to the orthopaedic ward this January.
Superintendent of MGM S.S. Prasad said: “We have sent an estimate for repairs to the building construction department. Funds is yet to be sanctioned,” he said.
Notably, a corpus of Rs 5.5 crore, which the health department had sanctioned this year for renovation of the Sakchi hospital, was returned because the district health office could not float a tender within the 2012-13 fiscal.