Subhas Chandra Pattanayak
Even as the incumbent Chief Minister is in his third consecutive term in Orissa, his Health Minister Prasanna Acharya has admitted that the department allotted to him is in disastrous disarray.
Addressing the Orissa chapter of Cardiology Society of India at Bhubaneswar on September 12, he informed that the Public Service Commission has been asked to select 1000 qualified Doctors to fill up the existing vacancies so that government hospitals and dispensaries may be properly manned.
So this is the reality at the moment!
Sri Navin Patnaik has given Orissa a rule wherein the health sector has so grossly been neglected that during his tenure of ten years a thousand numbers of posts of Doctors have been lying vacant.
The Minister has shown courage and honesty in admitting that as far as health care is concerned the administration has willfully neglected its role.
Out of thirteen dialysis machines purchased with public money, only two are in use, the Minister has divulged. He had to reveal this, as he had to give vent to his dismay over carting in of patients from Kalahandi district H.Q. hospital to Cuttack for dialysis despite presence of this machine in that hospital.
Why alone the Kalahandi Hospital? The scenario in Capital Hospital, the prime Government Hospital in the headquarters of the State has become no less pathetic, the minister has confessed.
As he was addressing the Cardiologists, he thought it prudent to tell them of how the I.C.U. under the cardiology department of Capital Hospital is functioning. He informed that the I.C.U. is housed in a new building equipped with as many as six high caliber A.C. machines. But despite this, it is not in use, as according to Hospital Authorities, there is no technical hand to handle the machines! The administration has become so habitual in negligence that it has not yet been ascertained whether or not by deliberate design the I.C.U. is kept inoperative.
Negligence to duty has become the norm of the day, if Acharya’s honest speech makes any revelation.
After he became the Minister of Health, he disclosed, he had wanted to know the numbers of high tech medical equipments purchased with details of their category, utility and price along with the names of the hospitals they were meant for, vis-à-vis the details of their capacity utilization for his knowledge and reference in order to have a clear idea on what would be the challenges before him while discharging his duties as the concerned Minister. But, he said, such pervasive has become executive apathy that though three months have elapsed he has not yet been supplied with the data he wanted.
The most noteworthy is his apprehension that he may not be given the data in months to come.
This clearly means, during Navin’s rule, anarchy has spread to such extent that the executive has no cares for complying with the rightful orders of the ministers.
When executive becomes so wild, what happens? The Health Minister has given a few examples. On a spot visit to the three Government Medical Colleges, he noticed that when 50 per cent of the Beds were in dilapidated condition, 70 per cent of bed covers were torn. On query he was told that though replacement thereof was overdue, paucity of funds was the obstacle. But on scrutiny he found that enough money on this particular head amounting to a sum of Rs. 33 lakhs was lying idle with the concerned authorities.
It is not that Chief Minister Navin Patnaik is not aware of this. Massive misappropriation of funds borrowed from the World Bank for health system development in the State unveiled by the World Bank teams is such serious an offense that the CM cannot say that it had not come to his attention. So, it is natural that he personally knows the misdeeds going on in health department. But he has never exercised his authority to correct the wrongs.
Now the concerned minister has put on records how misrule has engulfed the health sector.
Who to blame if not to the CM?