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Power pangs take toll on AIIMS health

- Pesu officials indifferent to sufferings of patients, students and doctors triggered by loadshedding

The All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Patna, has fallen victim to power pangs plaguing the city.

Sources said power outage at the state-of-the-art health cradle on four days in January coupled with frequent power cuts has made life difficult for patients, students and doctors, drilling holes in the state government’s tall claims of uninterrupted supply.

A doctor at AIIMS-Patna, on condition of anonymity, said: “On January 27, 28 and 30, there was no electricity at all. On January 29, the supply was erratic throughout the day. Everything was affected because of this. Investigations stopped at the pathology laboratory. On asking some patients to get tests done at the pathology lab, they told me it was not functioning because of power cuts. Moreover, students could not come to class on January 27 and 28 because there was no water in their hostel. Functioning of various laboratories, including physiology and biochemistry among others, was also hit.”

He added: “The hospital faces power cuts for 30 minutes to an hour everyday. Power cuts without prior information can hamper the functioning of any hospital. Indoor services are yet to start but if the situation persists, it would be difficult to run the hospital.”

AIIMS director Dr G.K. Singh said: “We pay around Rs 40 crore annually for power bills. So it is the state government’s responsibility to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the health hub, taking commercial and humanitarian approach. Else, it could endanger the lives of many patients.”

Asked about the frequent power cuts at AIIMS-Patna, SSP Srivastava, general manager, Patna Electricity Supply Undertaking (Pesu) passed the buck on the electrical superintending engineer, Pesu (West), Dilip Singh.

When contacted, Singh said: “There might be some defect in the transformer.” He refused to divulge further details.

Aditi Ranjan, a first-year MBBS student, said: “We couldn’t do practicals in the physiology lab owing to outage and power cuts.” She also admitted that students could not attend classes for two consecutive days. “There was no water in the hostel. The college arranged drinking water from outside.”

Another doctor at AIIMS-Patna said: “Even the hour-long power cuts can badly affect the reagents (chemicals used in practical classes) lying in the laboratory. They won’t be much effective.”

The health cradle has now been forced to initiate the process of procuring its own generators to cope with the problem.

Anil Kishore Yadav, deputy director (administration), AIIMS-Patna, said: “Yes, the hospital has decided to procure generators. But the tender process would take some time. We have a few generators running on public-private partnership mode, which suffices for a fraction of the actual requirement.”

But he declined to comment when asked whether it was the government’s responsibility to ensure uninterrupted supply to all hospitals in the state.