The community health centre in a shambles in Jharia. Picture by Gautam Dey
A Rs 1.29-crore two-storeyed building, which was supposed to house the community health centre (CHC) of Jharia, has been reduced to a brick-and-mortar skeleton with criminals frequenting it while the existing hospital for which it was meant continues to fight for space 4km away at Chasnala.
Blame it on lack of co-ordination among the health department, building division and police or simple apathy towards the health needs of common people, no effort was taken in the past four years to complete the building at Baniahir after thieves stole everything from doors and windows to water pipelines and sanitary fittings.
Rather, the structure spread over an acre about 13km from the Dhanbad district headquarters was left unguarded with the result that alcoholics, gamblers and anti-social elements from surrounding areas of Jharia have made it their happy hunting ground.
The contract for building the community health centre was awarded to one H.K. Singh, who is presently behind bars in a criminal case, in 2010.
“We were ready to shift to the new building at Baniahir, but could not do so as it was not completed and could not be handed over to us. The existing one-storey building at Chasnala from where the CHC currently operates does not have enough space,” in-charge of the CHC at Chasnala Shashibhushan Prasad told The Telegraph.
He went on to add that the site selection was also made in a hurry as the incomplete building is located in a water-scarcity zone.
The new building, comprising four large halls, a operating theatre, an ICU, a general ward and lavatories, was ready by 2011. But before the final handover, a theft took place in March that year with the gang decamping electrical appliances and cables, water supply pipelines, tiles, sanitary fittings, staircase railings, a submersible pump, windows and doors were stolen. A mobile phone belonging to Mantu Singh, the contractor’s clerk, went also missing.
Mantu lodged an FIR at Jharia police station.
The state of the building has prompted councillor of ward No. 37, Jharia, Anup Sao, to mull the protest path.
“This is sheer wastage of public money at a time there is severe lack of medical services in the district. We cannot tolerate it and have decided to stage a daylong dharna to press for completion of the facility in front of the Jharia health centre at Phularibag in Dhanbad on January 16,” Sao threatened.
Sao, who had written to the deputy commissioner Prashant Kumar on March 15 last year seeking action against those responsible for the new health centre’s plight, said they would resort to a fast-unto-death if the administration did not take adequate measures.
When contacted, executive engineer of building division of the state government Manoj Kumar Mahli said: “We have blacklisted the company last year due to non completion of work. A revised estimate of Rs 1.64 crore for completing the building had been sent to the headquarters for approval. Work will begin soon after funds arrive.”