Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Chief Minister Navin Patnaik has told the people while addressing an audience at VSS Medical College, Burla yesterday that within a decade Orissa shall surpass all other States of India in health care.

Such high-sounding claims makes a farce of chief-ministerial responsibilities when the reality does not stand with him.

Loot of health-care funds brought on loans from the World Bank by Navin’s Ministers and Officers is well on records. But the Chief Minister has yet to take discernible steps to punish the culprits even as this is visible that he has rewarded two persons in charge of the health department when the loot was going on, the then Health Minister Prafulla Ghadei and Health secretary R.N.Senapati with the Finance portfolio, which are such positions that from there any audit or official investigation could easily be controlled or tampered with or sloughed over.

Mark any posting notifications pertaining to the health department and you will see how postings are fixed!

Posts are being clandestinely auctioned and whosoever gives the highest click gets posting to his center of choice against “any available vacancy” in that center!

Innocent doctors are being transferred from their posts to accommodate the highest bidders and representations of the Doctors as such disadvantaged are kept pending for years till palms are greased for fetching a favor.

When finally files are cleared by bureaucracy, the health minister sits over them for months together till the disadvantaged Doctors learn how to get the file endorsed to the CM.

The CM of course clears the files finally. But has he ever queried as to why the disposal of the files at the Secretary’s as well as the Minister’s level takes so much time? No. Never.

When funds are looted and posts are auctioned, and, when this has happened during his tenure without any punishment to the involved culprits, should it not be better for the CM to stop high-sounding claims of surpassing all other States in health-care in a decade?

His Burla speech suggests that he is unable to look at the reality.

I know, he cannot dive deep into the matter. Lack of aptitude may not be the factor, but lack of time is.

So, I am giving him one example that he can readily verify and see what is happening in the name of health care in Orissa under his rule.

He stays in Bhubaneswar and uses Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation (BMC) as the showcase for his administration. Therefore, let me this time show him what really happens in the BMC Hospital, specifically as this piece is on health care scenario.

The BMC decided that there should be a Laparoscopy Unit in its hospital. Accordingly orders for the instrument was issued to a handpicked supplier vide BMC letter No.18099 dated 9 August 2007 and the laparascope, bearing trademark of a German Company Karl Storz, was procured at a cost of Rs. 20 lakhs, though different clinics suggest that the price was more than double the cost in which absolutely efficient machines were available in the market.

Whether or not the cost paid was driven by bribe is a job for the CM to find out.

But what is visible on records is that no laparoscope specialist received the machine from the supplier. A nurse who did not know anything of laparascope received it. The supplier was neither asked for nor had given the demonstration to show that it was in working condition and neither any specialist was in service there at that time nor was requisitioned thereafter to operate the machine.

Laparascopy is a special branch of surgery in which every member of the team beginning from the Doctor to the Nurses needs to have intensive training and specialization. The team should have been ready before the BMC placed orders for the machine. But there was no such team in the BMC hospital in 2007 and till today, no such team is posted there. The machine is laying idle and taking a turn into junk. No body knows if it will ever work. Its warranty period that began from the day of delivery is already over.

I deliberately put this specific instance in these pages.

No expertise is needed to understand that when the order was placed with the supplier there was no environment in the BMC hospital for operation of Laparascope. The post-procurement scenario shows that ever since the supplier delivered the machine the BMC has not taken any step to build up environment for its use.

When the machine was ordered for and procured, the CM’s blue-eyed officer was the commissioner of BMC and its Chairman was one of his sycophants in the BJD. When the machine was abandoned after receiving the delivery, the CM’s blue-eyed officer was the Commissioner and the CM’s party colleague was in chair of the BMC as before. When the machine is continuously lying idle and getting into junk, the same set up is in control of the BMC with CM’s sycophants in its total control.

It is clear therefore that the purpose behind procuring the machine was not developing a laparascopy unit in the hospital, but the only purpose was to earn handsome commission out of the transaction.

Let the CM react to this reality.

If he cannot, he should abstain from high-sounding claims that in a decade Orissa shall surpass all other States in health care. It is simply bad if the peoples are hoodwinked.

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