MIRZA, Aug 8 - The State government�s tall claims of providing healthcare services to all has run into rough weather and no concrete steps have been taken to provide these services to people living in the most neglected, backward and remote revenue villages in char areas of Palasbari and Hajo LACs in Kamrup district.
According to an investigation by this reporter, it has been established that not a single health centre has been set up by the State government for the people of over 15 villages, with a population of over 1 lakh, located in char areas of Palasbari and Hajo LACs in Kamrup district.
Sources said that government had set up a health sub centre at Siyalmari (Gaoburapam) village in char area of Hajo LAC nine years back but not a single staff has been inducted in the sub centre so far and the centre has been decaying ever since.
�The sub centre at Siyalmari (Gaoburapam) village under Hajo LAC is the only health centre for char villages under Hajo and Palasbari LACs in Kamrup district, which has failed to provide healthcare services to the patients due to lack of qualified doctors, nurses and other staff. We have on several occasions requested all MLAs concerned (Hajo LAC), Circle Officers (Hajo Revenue Circle) and concerned SDMO of Sualkuchi hospital to make the Siyalmari sub centre functional and also requested for upgradation of the Siyalmari sub centre into a Primary Health Centre (PHC). But nothing has been achieved till date,� said Akbar Ali, a local leader of Siyalmari village.
Akbar Ali further said that Member of Parliament from Gauahati LS constituency, Bijoya Chakraborty and Hajo MLA, Sumon Haripriya have also visited the Siyalmari sub centre during their election meetings and the villagers had requested them to take steps to make the sub centre functional. But they have not taken any concrete action so far.
Jakir Ali of Siyalmari village told this correspondent that villages in the char areas of Hajo and Palasbari have been facing recurring floods every year and those areas are quite prone to diseases like cholera, dysentery and other fatal water-borne diseases during flood and its aftermath.
�Whenever there is an outbreak of epidemic-like disease during flood and its aftermath, it becomes very difficult to transport the patients to the nearest Sualkuchi hospital due to absence of adequate boat services in the char villages and many patients have died in the past. Getting treatment for the pregnant mothers and infants have also been become a great obstacle for us as our villages are surrounded by waters of the Brahmaputra river,� said Jakir Ali.
Akbar Ali said that due to non-availability of hospitals equipped with doctors in the villages in char areas in Hajo and Palasbari, the patients of these villages have to be carried to some other hospitals located in the plain areas of Chhaygaon, Sualkuchi and Guwahati by three types of transportation modes. First, the patients have to be transported either on shoulders by relatives or in buffalo carts to ghats of the Brahmaputra river located one to five kilometres away. Second, from the ghats, the patients have to be transported through waterways by boats to another river port located at Futuri, Gumi and Bamundi villages. Third, the patients have to be carried in motor cars to the nearest hospitals located at Chhaygaon, Sualkuchi, Hajo etc. Thus, carrying a patient with a fatal disease is expensive in terms of money and time.
Sources said that during night, patients cannot be transported to hospitals as boat facility is not available to cross the Brahmaputra river at night. In daytime also, patients have to be carried by the limited boats within a fixed time-frame. Thus, patients suffering from dreaded or epidemics or problems like diarrhoea, malaria, delivery etc., have no other option but to succumb to their diseases en route.
Public has urged the State Health minister to immediately address the healthcare problem of the char people by setting up at least two hospitals at Siyalmari and Bardia Gaon villages in Hajo and Palasbari LACs respectively in Kamrup district.