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Medical care in Punjab in shambles

I fully share the concern expressed in the editorial “Who will hear babies’ cries?” (Feb 2). The incident was extremely horrifying. Five infants lost their lives due to the negligence of the staff of the Rajindra Hospital, Patiala. It is shameful that at the time of this ghastly incident no doctor or nurse was present.

No doubt, an enquiry will expose the culprits responsible for the incident. But it will take a long time to restore people’s faith in the functioning of government hospitals. The suspension of the Principal and other staff members is not going to bring back to life the infants who have died. Will the state government tell the people why it failed to take notice of The Tribune’s survey of the government hospitals?

When will the state government wake up to the plight of the suffering people and improve health care facilities? No more lives should be lost in these hospitals due to negligence. Government hospitals are the only hope for the poor and the disadvantaged people.

An advisory committee consisting of eminent public figures and social activists should be set up for proper monitoring and supervision. Deputy Commissioners and Commissioners should take genuine interest in improving the day-to-day functioning of medical institutions.



The death of five infants due to burning in the photo-therapy unit of Rajendra Hospital, Patiala, should not come as a surprise as something like this was waiting to happen, given the old dilapidated infrastructure of medical colleges and other civil hospitals in Punjab. There is complete apathy towards the functioning of these hospitals as the rich are able to get the best of medical services from private hospitals which have mushroomed all over the state.

The authorities did not learn any lesson from similar incidents in some other hospitals of the country. Having been a student of Amritsar Medical College, it was shocking for me to see the pathetic neglect of both the institution and the attached hospital during a visit in February last year. Be it lecture halls, laboratories, hostels, OPDs, the ICU or wards, all presented a picture of utter neglect. The once impressive campus wore a dilapidated look with broken windowpanes, dark and dingy corridors and, above all, a complete lack of pride among the students and faculty members. The Tribune also highlighted this in a series on medical colleges sometime back.

It is high time the authorities provided adequate funds and staff to improve the functioning of government hospitals in the state. As it is, recent reports have revealed that India spends only 4.8 per cent of the GDP on health. India’s spending is only better than countries like Nigeria, Indonesia, Sudan and Myanmar.

BRIG H S SANDHU, Panchkula

EC reforms

The editorial “EC in crisis” (Feb 2) was informative. But I differ with the viewpoint of your esteemed newspaper, which referred to the recommendation of the Chief Election Commissioner to the President of India for the removal of his colleague, Mr Navin Chawla. I am not endorsing the CEC stance, as it would be premature to comment upon it at this stage.I think what he has done should be seen as merely his observation or assessment with respect to the conduct and behaviour of his colleague over a period of time. 

Over the years, a practice has been developed to elevate the seniormost Election Commissioner as the CEC.  I think the time has come to have a fresh look at this procedure, so that only persons with proven ability, integrity and diligence are appointed to the post of CEC. Also, the appointment process to the coveted posts of Election Commissioners, both at the Centre and in the states, should be made more broad-based and transparent.


Save water

Water is a gift of God to man. However, today what to talk of drinking water, even underground water is not fit for irrigation. The growing water crisis is really a matter of concern. There can be no life without water. The flora and fauna will turn into dunes of sand. The extinction of water means extinction of all forms of life. The contamination of water and its depletion compel us to ponder over the issue gravely. To ensure life on earth the motto “save water, save life and save universe” should be given due emphasis.

Also, the excessive use of pesticides, chemical manures and other pollutants must be avoided. Water should not be wasted. Latest technologies should be adopted to conserve water. Both traditional and modern methods of water conservation need to be followed.

ONKAR SINGH, Moran, Jalandhar



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