The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt dials mayor for clinics’ clean-up

Calcutta, Oct. 29: Stung by incidents of cats and dogs attacking infants and the infirm and rats feasting on corpses kept in morgues of state-run hospitals, the government has embarked on a drive to rid the premises of its hospitals of stray animals.

The health department requested the Calcutta Municipal Corporation to banish stray animals from the city hospitals, while NGOs will be asked to take up the responsibility at district hospitals.

Principal secretary (health) Asim Barman requested mayor Subrata Mukherjee today on phone to clear the garbage and purge the premises of the medical colleges and government hospitals in the city of stray dogs, cats and pigs.

Taking the cue, director of health services Prabhakar Chatterjee announced that apart from recruiting security personnel from the Sainik Board, the district health department will seek the assistance of NGOs to drive out dogs and cats from hospitals.

Soon after receiving Barman’s call, the mayor directed chief engineer (conservancy) Arun Sarkar and assistant director Swapan Mahapatra to inspect the city hospitals tomorrow to form an idea of the logistical support required to remove the garbage quickly.

Health department sources said Barman dialled Mukherjee as health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra and municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharaya have expressed their displeasure over piling garbage on hospital premises.

The municipal corporation will deploy its dog squad to catch the stray animals roaming the hospital grounds.

Before Maneka Gandhi’s visit in 1997, the CMC used to exterminate stray dogs regularly. Following her request, the corporation handed over the responsibility of controlling the canine population to NGOs through sterilisation. But the project failed.

The corporation will also start removing garbage from clinic campuses, though conservancy service in government hospitals comes under the purview of the public works department.

As the department failed to clear the garbage regularly for want of adequate infrastructure, Barman, then municipal commissioner, started providing conservancy services to the medical colleges and government hospitals thrice a week from 1998.

Later, after a row between the mayor and hospitals, the health department decided to engage a private agency through the public works department to cart away the garbage from government hospitals.

This time, the CMC’s services will come for a fee. A tentative rate of Rs 650 per truck has been set for removing garbage from hospital premises. “We will send the bill to the respective hospital authorities once the work is done,” the mayor said.

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