The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Address shift hurdle for health wing

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome and the deaths of children, either at the city’s B.C. Roy Hospital for Children or in Murshidabad’s villages, are not the only things the health department is confused about. It is just as baffled about basics, like what its address is going to be.

After missing several self-imposed deadlines to bring all its wings under a single roof in Salt Lake, the department — where the do-it-now slogan of a couple of years ago is all but forgotten — is wary of setting itself another deadline.

The address shift, admit officials, would have been of “real help” in coordinating things better. “All the departments under one roof means less formalities before meetings between section heads, less time wasted and much quicker reaction to diseases and circumstances,” said a senior health department official.

The department is one of the few that works out of several addresses. If the health intelligence wing is in India Exchange Place, the directorate of health services operates (along with the directorate of medical education) from Writers’ Buildings and the drug control wing from an address on Lower Circular Road.

According to the original plans, the department was to have shifted en masse (except the drug control wing and the AIDS control wing) to Swasthya Bhavan, in Sector V of Salt Lake, by mid-April. “Coordination between all our wings would have been much better if we worked from the same address,” director of medical education Chittaranjan Maity said on Tuesday.

Other officials, however, are keen on having the health intelligence wing work from the same building that houses the twin directorates of medical education and health services. “That would have been the biggest benefit of the shift,” one of them said.

It’s not that the new address is not ready to welcome the occupants. Two buildings at GN-29 — one seven-storeyed and another five-storeyed — are almost ready and slickly furnished. At the two buildings, with glass facades, labourers were working on Tuesday on the electrical appliances.

But the shift is not likely to occur in the near future, say Bidhannagar Municipality officials. Chairman Dilip Gupta said he had not heard anything from the state health department. Another senior official said the health department was yet to submit to the municipality’s planning department some of the papers necessary for the shift.

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