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1 doctor runs Rs 2 cr hospital in Moga
Perneet Singh
Tribune News Service

Moga, July 1
It is a fine example of government apathy. People of Badhani Kalan town here have invested Rs 2 crore to reconstruct a mini Primary Health Centre (PHC) building, but the government seems least interested in upgrading the hospital.

Beautifully constructed, this four-block hospital is largely underutilised as only a single block houses the mini PHC and the remaining blocks remain unoperational. The population of the surrounding 46 villages is about 2.5 lakh and the government has appointed only one doctor for them that too an eye specialist, due to which patients suffering from other ailments have to be referred to the Civil Hospital, Moga. Having a capacity of 50 beds, the hospital, at present, has merely 10 beds. There are no medical instruments and machines in the hospital except for two opthalmoscopes, which belong to the doctor. Lab technician Harnek Singh said 90 to 100 patients approached them daily, of which only 10 were general patients. Out of these 10, two to four patients had to be sent to Moga, he added.

The mini PHC, which caters to thousands of people from about 40 nearby villages was in a dilapidated state when a health committee came into being in 1990. The committee collected Rs 70,000-80,000 for renovation work in 1991. The efforts bore fruit in 1992 when the Finance Department sanctioned about Rs 18 lakh for the hospital building and the CMO, Faridkot, asked the Director, Health Department, to take up the case at the government level, but nothing concrete came out of it. In the same year, three Punjab ministers had announced upgradation of the hospital at a function in Badhani Kalan, but again it turned out to be a false promise. The Public Works Department also declared the building ‘unsafe’ in 1999.

Disappointed, the committee, local residents and NRIs of the area decided to build a new building with their own efforts. In 2000, the construction work of the hospital began under the supervision of Sant Baba Man Singh and Sant Baba Mohan Singh. Soon a four-block building, constructed on the lines of Apollo Hospital, Delhi, and spread over 25,000 sq feet, was ready. Again promises from various persons occupying key posts followed, but unfortunately the things remained where they were.

At last, the committee demanded its upgradation to a 30-bedded hospital against the earlier demand of 50-bedded hospital. Four years on, they were still waiting for a favourable response from the government.

The general secretary of the Health Committee, Mr Shivender Puri, told TNS that they had not received a reply from the government regarding their demand and it had always been a one-sided correspondence. He said that once the Health Department had reportedly refused to upgrade the hospital. Puri said poor response from the government had left local people angry and disappointed as their sentiments were attached with the hospital. They had invested their hard-earned money in building it, thinking that they would no longer have to visit cities like Moga and Ludhiana for better healthcare, but still it was a dream for them, he added.

When contacted, the Chief Medical Officer, Barinder Pal Singh, said they were making efforts for upgradation of the mini PHC at Badhani Kalan because public money was involved in building the hospital. Health Department sources said there had been some progress in the case, which may well be a ray of hope for the people of Badhani Kalan and nearby villages.

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