The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Crooning medical boss faces the music
- Day of shame: Showcause notices slapped on two block medical officers

Hemtabad (North Dinajpur), Nov. 5: Patients at the block hospital here spent the whole of last evening trying to shut out the music blaring from loudspeakers at a soiree. The star entertainer at the show held next to the hospital: the block’s medical officer, who belted out Papa Kehte Hain to the delight of the audience and distress of the patients.

Sabyasachi Bhowmick faced the music today with the district health authorities handing him a showcause notice asking him to explain how he could allow such an event to take place in a designated silence zone.

The performers on a stage constructed barely 10 metres from the hospital boundary not only kept inmates tossing and turning in their beds, the huge crowd that spilled over to the road prevented patients from gaining access to the emergency room.

Surya Sen Smriti Chakra, a local club, had organised the soiree. The club members had approached the block medical officer of health for permission. Bhowmick gave the go-ahead but also expressed his desire to be part of the show.

The organisers constructed the stage and set up six huge sound boxes and two loudspeakers, all turned towards the hospital.

The nightmare for patients started around 7.30 pm with recorded Hindi film songs being played as a warm-up to the live performance later in the evening.

Bhowmick made an appearance later and was escorted to the first row. Around 10 pm, a live band plugged in their instruments and singers began to render their versions of film hits. Three songs later, the doctor took the stage and belted out Udit Narayan’s hit from Qayamat se Qayamat Tak to tumultuous applause. The show went on well past midnight.

Not very long after the function began, Kalachand Rajbanshi, half-conscious and suffering from diarrhoea, was stuck for an hour with his relatives on the way to the hospital because the crowd had spilled over on the road. A similar fate awaited Islam Ali, whose rickshaw also got stuck in the melee. As soon as both Ali and Rajbanshi managed to get to the emergency, they were immediately admitted as their condition was serious.

“We have never seen a function take place so close to the hospital and with such deafening noise. I have lodged a complaint with the hospital authorities,” said Pachkotu Rajbanshi, who had accompanied Kalachand to the hospital.

Inside the hospital, the patients were huddling in their beds, the doors and windows of the wards shut in a vain attempt to keep the noise out. “I cannot go to sleep though I am feeling weak and drowsy because of this racket,” said Ali, after admission.

Officiating chief medical officer of health, Arijit Chakraborty, said an inquiry was going on and Bhowmick had been asked to explain his decision. “Yes, I granted permission, the sound level had not exceeded the decibel level. I love cultural activity and I could not resist singing a song on stage,” was Bhowmick’s explanation.

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