The Telegraph e-Paper
The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Encroachers return to take over cancer ward
- Squatters at home in Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital, demand alternative shelter

Cancer patients do not get treatment at the ward for the disease at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH), but homeless people have found shelter in the partially constructed building.

Encroachers have returned to the hospital campus, despite the efforts of the authorities of the health hub and the district administration to evict them.

The district administration had conducted an anti-encroachment drive on the hospital premises three months back. The encroachers were evicted and their temporary houses were destroyed. But hundreds of families of homeless people have returned to the health hub and occupied the cancer ward.

Most of the inhabitants belong to the economically backward classes. Many of them have ration cards and voter identity cards. Some of them also have government jobs, including various posts in the DMCH.

DMCH medical superintendent Dr Suraj Nayak said: “The district administration has left no stone unturned to remove the encroachment. Their efforts gave us temporary relief. But the encroachers have returned and since their shelters have been demolished, they have occupied the cancer ward.”

He added: “We fear that they will gradually reoccupy other places on the campus.”

Encroachers, however, claimed that they do not have anywhere else to go.

Ram Narayan Singh, a retired peon of the education department, told The Telegraph: “I know that we have illegally occupied the hospital’s land and constructed houses though we are not authorised to. But we have been living here since the 1970s. I used to work in the education department. Where will I go now?”

He added: “The district administration demolished our houses on February 17. But no alternative arrangement was made for us. Most of the occupants are wage earners. They are in no position to go any where else.”

The hospital authorities claim that other problems accompany the encroachers.

Nayak said: “Along with the illegal occupants, some criminals also take shelter on the hospital premises. These illegal occupants change their hideouts for some time but come back after cleaning drive is over.”

The encroachers are, however, determined not to go anywhere else unless they are provided alternative shelters.

One of them said: “The circle officer of Sadar block assured us that we would be rehabilitated before our shelters on the hospital campus was demolished. But we got no help from the district administration. So, we shall not move out of the premises till we are rehabilitated.”

His neighbours were also vocal in their demand.

“We have been living on the hospital premises for decades. The government must provide us with an alternative if they want us to vacate it,” said another of them.