The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Police station burial for hospital hopes

Mangalkot (Burdwan), Nov. 11: The new building of the Mangalkot police station, scheduled to be inaugurated tomorrow by inspector-general (Western Range) Jitram Bhagat, has come up on a plot donated by villagers way back in 1957 on condition that a hospital and nothing else would be constructed there.

The villagers, who were under the impression all the while that the new buildings coming up were additions to their inadequate primary health centre, are shocked and angry.

The local police station, now situated by the Kunur River, will shift to its new building tomorrow and the residents’ dream of a village hospital will lay buried under the concrete.

The villagers have sent petitions to chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra, district superintendent of police B.N. Ramesh, the state human rights commission and the zilla parishad sabhadhipati but to no avail.

They have finally moved the high court, seeking redress.

Then secretary of a villagers’ union, Alauddin Mollah, had taken the initiative way back in 1957 along with Congress’ labour minister Abdul Sattar to build the Mangalkot health centre.

Villagers, responding to the state government’s appeal for land for a hospital, donated 21 acres, out of which one Bholadasi Sarkar had alone donated 18 kottahs on condition that nothing else but a hospital will be built on the land.

The condition formed part of the title deed that put the transfer of land to the government on record, said Prasanta Sarkar, Bholadasi’s grandson.

“My grandmother donated the land for a village hospital and not any police station. I was under the impression these last few months that a hospital was being built. Once I saw the signboard proclaiming the construction of the new Mangalkot police station, reality dawned on me. I’ve written to the chief minister, health minister, police superintendent, state human rights commission and the zilla parishad sabhadhipati but my appeals have fallen on deaf ears. I was compelled to move the high court,” said Sarkar.

The superintendent of police reportedly took the initiative to construct the new police station building a few years ago. Bholadasi’s family was kept in the dark about it. They haven’t even been invited to the inauguration tomorrow.

Mollah, one of the key witnesses of the deed, said: “Bholadasi had generously donated the land so that a hospital could be built for the villagers but a police station building is what the government has come up with.”

The government has reportedly misplaced the original deed, a copy of which is still with Bholadasi’s grandson.

Katwa circle inspector Amal Chakraborty said: “The district’s chief medical officer of health had given us this land and the building was constructed by the zilla parishad.”

However, chief medical officer of health S.K. Sarengi denied any knowledge about the transfer of the Mangalkot health centre land to the police.

“I do not have any details whatsoever of this transfer,” he said.

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