Bowing to pressure from residents and political parties, the district administration of South 24-Parganas is preparing to shift its main hospital — M.R. Bangur Hospital, in Tollygunge — from the city to within the district.
The health department has cleared the shift, and a site has been selected at Baruipur.
Earlier, for the convenience of the district’s residents, the offices of the additional superintendents of police, both industrial and rural, were shifted from Alipore to Behala and Baruipur, respectively.
M.R. Bangur’s location in Tollygunge makes it inaccessible to residents of Kakdwip, Gosaba, Basanti, Canning and other far-flung areas of the district. It caters mainly to residents of Jadavpur, Tollygunge, Santoshpur, Garia and the adjacent areas.
“The hospital is equipped with several modern facilities, like a CT scan, a burns unit and an incubator, but for the rural people, it is difficult to reach,” pointed out Subhas Naskar, RSP legislator from Basanti and the party’s district secretary.
“It is not feasible that a villager from Basanti come all the way to Tollygunge for treatment. Chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, too, is in favour of shifting the hospital,” Naskar said.
Trinamul Congress MLA from Canning (East) and district party president Gobinda Naskar said the hospital has 600 beds, but most are occupied by local patients.
“I have raised the issue time and again in the Assembly and it will be appreciated if the government does shift the hospital for the benefit of rural patients,” Naskar added.
A key district CPM leader said the shift, decided on much earlier, was delayed because of the pressure exerted by local leaders.
Every day, nearly 250 patients attend the outdoor departments of the hospital, but a scan of the addresses will reveal that only three or four per cent of them are from the rural areas.
Chief medical officer of health Pradeep Mondal said the Baruipur site was accessible from all corners of the district. “Initially, the main drug store will be shifted there in March. The site is large and subsequent plans will be chalked out by senior officials of the department,” Mondal said.