| Guru Gobind Singh Hospital in Patna City. Picture by Sachin |
The issue of funds release for paying electricity charges has hit Guru Gobind Singh Hospital like never before.
The hospital in Patna City has around Rs 5.13 crore electricity bills due since 2002.
Hospital superintendent Awadhesh Kumar Kashyap said on Thursday: “It’s not that we have not paid electricity bills for long but every year the health department is providing us very less funds than required. So the electricity bill has touched to this high amount.”
He added that he had written twice to the health department in the past couple of months asking them to provide funds so that it could pay the electricity bill but in vain. Kashyap said the hospital authority had assigned some doctors to communicate with officials of Patna Electric Supply Undertaking (Pesu) regularly so that they do not snap the power connection.
Deepak Kumar, principal secretary, health, said: “We have earmarked funds for different hospitals for paying electricity bills under the budget which is scheduled to be tabled in the Assembly soon. The problem would be sorted out then.”
Doctors, however, felt such an issue should have been sorted out earlier. Ophthalmologist Sunil Kumar Singh, vice-president, Indian Medical Association state chapter, said: “The Pesu should not take any punitive action because it would affect patients but such a huge due also hampers the development projects related to the power sector. The health department should release the funds at the earliest,” said Singh.
Nalanda Medical College and Hospital superintendent Shivkumari Prasad also said the hospital had huge electric bill dues but she did not divulge the amount.
Rajiv Ranjan Prasad, president, Indian Medical Association state chapter, said: “The dues show that the health department has terribly failed in ensuring proper expenditure and audit of the state-run hospitals. You would be surprised to know that the electricity connection of Government Pharmacy Institute in Agamkuan was snapped many years ago because it was unable to pay electricity bills of around Rs 30 lakh. Many shops of Govind Mitra Roads are illegally taking connection from Patna Medical College and Hospital but hardly anyone is bothered,” added Prasad.