HEALTH & CORRUPTION: Whip out at scam hint – CPM forces Hooghly zilla parishad chief to resign – “culture of corruption” rampant in Bengal, a sad legacy of the commie-congie nexus ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH BUREAU
June 14: The Hooghly zilla parishad chief stepped down today under instructions from the CPM brass after being accused of siphoning away money meant for medicines in district hospitals.
Sources said Asit Patra was told to resign barely two days after the preliminary findings of a health department probe reached the party, the promptness suggesting that the CPM, which had often brazened out charges against leaders in the past, accepts the need for “rectification” after successive electoral routs.
Patra is a district secreta-riat member of the party and local CPM sources described him as a “high-profile leader”.
A source in the Hooghly CPM unit said “the health de-partment probe had indicted Patra”, the ex-officio head of the district health committee, for producing “inflated medicine bills” in connivance with health officials. “The district party unit held an emergency meeting yesterday and asked him to quit,” the source said.
The state party leadership at Alimuddin Street had greenlighted the district unit’s crackdown on Patra, CPM state secretariat member Benoy Konar said.
The committee headed by Patra clears the purchase of about Rs 5 crore worth of medicines and allied supplies for five hospitals in the district every year.
Party sources said the committee’s chief had allegedly signed bills against which no medicines had been bought.
State health service director Aniruddha Kar said in Calcutta: “Irregularities to the tune of a few crores had been detect-ed in the purchase of drugs and the health department is conducting a detailed inquiry.”
Patra, 61, said he had resigned “accepting moral responsibility” for the “irregularities in the purchase of medicines by the committee”.
Konar said he could not recall another leader of such seniority being forced to resign following a corruption charge.
In the late ’80s, after SFI leader Alokesh Das was accused of setting several important Kalyani University documents on fire, the party had refused to take any action against him. Das later went on to become an MP.
However, the situation has changed, CPM insiders said. Of the 12 Hooghly municipalities that went to the polls on May 30, the Left has bagged only one. It had won eight of the 12 last time.
“We want the organisation to be rid of corrupt people, regardless of what post he or she is holding. We have to refur- bish the party’s image, which has taken a beating in recent years. Only a clean organisation and its dedicated workers can counter the Opposition,” a CPM central committee member said.
Officials in Calcutta said that according to procedure, the health department would file a police case after completing its inquiry.
HEALTH SERVICES IN SILIGURI: Fire overburdens OT with 30 surgeries a day – NBMCH demands blaze report from PWD – private nursing homes ready to make a killing there – no history of doing so ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Siliguri, June 14: The fire at the operation theatre of the emergency ward of the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital yesterday has put additional load on the main OT, which will now have to deal with nearly 30 surgeries a day.
“The emergency OT deals with at least five to seven operations daily. These surgeries will now be carried out at the main operation theatre,” said Samir Ghosh Roy, the superintendent of the NBMCH. According to hospital sources, the main OT usually handles 15-20 operations daily.
The referral hospital presently has two functioning OTs — the main OT and the one meant for gynaecology, where normal deliveries and those under Caesarean section are conducted. The main OT has one room each for cardiology, orthopaedic, eye, urology, ENT and general surgery.
“There were 14 surgeries on the schedule of the main OT today but on some days it even caters for up to 20 operations. Now that even the emergency surgeries will be carried out here, the workload will increase. It might reach 30,” a nurse at the main OT said.
The fire broke out at the emergency OT yesterday after a short circuit in the AC. The blaze had triggered panic because of the presence of 10 oxygen cylinders.
Fire officials said excess supply of electricity to the plug points of the AC had led to the short circuit. Thirty patients were evacuated from the male and the female casualty wards adjacent to the emergency OT.
The emergency ward limped back to normal although sources said the rush was much less compared to the other days.
“There is great rush on other days and by the afternoon we usually admit about 25 patients. However, till noon today only 10 patients were admitted to the male and female casualty wards. The word of the fire had spread and people were probably scared,” said an employee at the emergency ward. The female and male casualty wards together can accommodate 100 patients at a time.
The NBMCH authorities have sought a report on the fire from the staff at the emergency ward and the PWD’s electrical engineer.
“These reports will be forwarded to the director of medical education at Swasthya Bhawan in Calcutta who will constitute a committee for a high-level inquiry,” Ghosh Roy said.
Regarding the measures taken for installation of fire prevention and protection systems, the superintendent said meetings would be held with fire department officials.
“We will conduct a survey of the entire NBMCH complex and the electrical system installed here. A proposal will be prepared for installation of proper fire prevention and protection arrangement and will be submitted to the fire department,” Ghosh Roy said.