The Telegraph
Tuesday , April 8 , 2014
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Lifeline for many now gasps for blood infusion

Give Mohania blood, give it freedom from dependence on Varanasi every time a resident needs a blood infusion.

Sadly this is not any candidate or party’s election promise here, just a silent, unattended reality lost in the din of an election in which the focus is on caste and arithmetic.

Sometime in the past, a blood bank in Mohania area of Kaimur district, around 250km west of Patna, had served as a lifeline for those injured in the 1993 Bombay blasts. The Lok Nayak Jayaprakash Narayan blood bank, started with public funds, had sent around 100 bottles of blood to Mumbai in the aftermath of the explosions.

Today, the same blood bank wears a dilapidated look because of government negligence. It shut down in 2003. Patients requiring blood are now referred to Varanasi for salvation.

Binay Bahadur Singh, then civil surgeon of Kaimur district, had taken the initiative to set up the blood bank in Mohania.

“I gave my life to set up the bank as many people were dying from unavailability of blood in Kaimur district. I was the district civil surgeon and thought of setting it up with money collected through donations. You will not believe, some people donated just Re 1. It took me around a year to collect Rs 2 lakh for the blood bank. Then chief minister Lalu Prasad inaugurated the blood bank in January 1992, I don’t remember the exact date,” says Singh, who is chairman, Bihar chapter, Red Cross Blood Bank Society, in Patna.

One day in the March of 1993, Singh recalls: “I got a call from the Kaimur district magistrate asking me how much blood we had. He said thousands were injured in the Bombay blasts and blood was required urgently. Without a second thought, I sent as many as 100 bottles of blood belonging to various groups. We got appreciation at the national level.”

The blood bank also helped save many lives when the Delhi Rajdhani Express met with an accident in 1996. “Even MLA Shivandhar Paswan’s life could be saved after blood was made available from the Mohania blood bank in 1998,” Singh recalls.

Now, a lock hangs from the blood bank’s door. There are four rooms inside and some equipment, like a deep freezer. The pillar supporting the building structure is on the verge of collapse.

Specifying why the bank fell upon bad days, Singh said: “There are many reasons, including negligence by local officials and non-renewal of licence which could not be procured as it cost around Rs 10 lakh. No one came forward to help.”

“Ever since the blood bank closed down, several lives have been lost because of unavailability of blood at the right time and now, patients are referred to Varanasi,” says Laxman Kumar, a resident of Mohania.

Another resident, Chandan Kumar, said: “There is no blood bank in the surrounding districts. I think the administration should intervene in the matter.”

The district administration painted a rosy picture when asked about plans to revive the blood bank.

“We are working on re-opening the blood bank. The district administration has released Rs 20 lakh for the blood bank and once the elections are over, work will start on a war-footing,” Kaimur district magistrate Arvind Kumar Singh told The Telegraph.

Mohania, part of Sasaram parliamentary constituency, votes on April 10