Barely 45 days have elapsed since a middle-aged woman died after a concrete chunk fell on her from a dilapidated wall of the bio-chemistry building of SSKM Hospital, but that seems time enough for the Public Works Department (PWD) to turn a blind eye to the safety of patients and doctors at government hospitals.
Several weeks have passed since principal Indrajit Roy of R.G. Kar Medical College and Hospital wrote to the PWD to conduct an immediate and detailed survey of his hospital and submit a report, but neither has seen the light of day. “I haven’t heard from the PWD to date,” said principal Roy. “The buildings at R.G. Kar may not crumble down right away, but they need attention,” he added.
Immediately after the fatal incident at SSKM, the health department decided to speed up repairs at the state-run hospitals. But all the noise came to nought.
The authorities’ apathy towards R.G. Kar has not ended there. A few months ago, five dilapidated buildings were razed. These housed the in-house doctors, the outdoor patients department and the surgical ward. All the departments were shifted to the overcrowded main building and the doctors, left with no option, headed home. An ambulance has been deployed to fetch them to hospital in case of an emergency. The authorities were to construct new wings on the plot, but a funds crunch aborted the project.
Director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said: “We have held talks with the PWD and, hopefully, work will start sooner than later.” PWD minister Amar Chowdhury said he would look into the matter.