At a time when the state government is keen on boosting healthcare in the city and elsewhere, a medical unit catering to 200,000 people of chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee’s Jadavpur constituency is on the verge of closure.
The Matangini Patwari health unit, popularly known as the Garfa health clinic, was established in 1980 to provide medicare to residents of Jadavpur, Kalikapur, Sonarpur and other areas on the city’s southern fringes. However, it had to be closed down in its very first year, after a doctor and his wife were assaulted by a group of anti-socials. The unit remained closed till 1997 as no medical officer wanted to take charge. The heath department reopened it in 1997, under popular pressure. “We had to reopen the hospital as there was a long-standing demand for it,” said CPM leader and former Borough 12 chairman Ganesh Guhathakurta.
But, not satisfied with the “functioning of the clinic”, the district health authorities have written to the state government for winding it up or handing it over to the CMDA. “This hospital stands on CMDA land, like the one at Thakurpukur’s Haridebpur. We have to pay the staff salary in these two units but we are in the dark about the way they operate,” said Pradip Mondal, chief medical officer (health), South 24-Parganas, on Sunday.
“These two health centres are becoming a burden for us and we would like the CMDA to take them over,” Mondal said. District health official sources said the authorities were also planning major changes in the outdoor patients’ departments (OPDs). “Discussions are on to revamp the OPDs, presently eight in number, and ensure better healthcare,” an official said.
On the health centre, director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee said: “Our policy is to hand over such clinics and health centres to the CMDA.” The CMDA, however, has refused to comment, pending a probe.
According to Rakesh Tripathi, medical officer in charge of the clinic, around 250 patients are treated every day at the OPD. “Although there are plans to charge a nominal fee, treatment is absolutely free,” he added. There is an indoor department, too, with night emergency services. Homoeopathic therapy is also conducted at the clinic.
Angry residents have decided to petition the government against any move to wind up the health clinic.