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HindustanTimes Mon,22 Dec 2014

Doctors say can’t stay too long in Kedarnath, want 30-day shift reduced

Nihi Sharma Sahani, Hindustan Times  Dehradun, June 13, 2014
First Published: 16:17 IST(13/6/2014) | Last Updated: 16:20 IST(13/6/2014)

Doctors on duty at Kedarnath are finding it difficult to deal with climatic changes and other day-to-day challenges. That’s why they have demanded that the health authorities should shorten their service period at the shrine from one month to a fortnight. The health department is now preparing other teams to replace the existing ones at the shrine.

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Shared Dr GS Joshi, director general (health) with Hindustan Times, “We had sent teams to Kedarnath for the safety of pilgrims for one month each. However, the doctors are now demanding to make it a rotation shift of 15 days. They shared how challenging it is to survive at Kedarnath. Thus, we are constituting other teams so that we can replace those at the temple.”

Along with a physician and surgeon, each health team at Kedarnath has one pharmacist, two nurses, and four fourth-class employee. While there are two teams at the temple, other teams were deployed along the route. The doctors were deployed from Dehradun while support staff were deployed from Chamoli and Rudraprayag districts. Dr Joshi shared that doctors are encountering problems like lack of warm water for bath and other things.

The health teams are staying in tents, which are not comfortable enough and do not keep them warm. Besides, due to high altitude, the level of oxygen is low, causing nausea.

Dr Gurupal Singh, chief medical officer (CMO) Dehradun district shared, “It’s difficult terrain where no doctor wants to go. There are some serious risks involved in living in Kedarnath. Now, there’s a demand to send doctors by rotation. We are trying to constitute fresh teams which will replace existing ones. If we send doctors for a fortnight’s duty at Kedarnath, even then health services in the capital will suffer. However, we are trying to strike a balance.”

There are two teams at Kedarnath shrine, one near the temple, and the other one near a helipad. Both teams are assigned of diagnosing ailments and provide emergency help if needed. There are seven other teams on the yatra route for pilgrims. While doctors on yatra route have been arranged from nearby stations, those at Kedarnath have gone from Dehradun.

HT tried to contact Dr Deepak Sundriyal, physician of Doon District Hospital currently at Kedarnath shrine, but due to poor network connectivity, could not talk to him.


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‘Central aid to state rose in past 3 yrs, but growth slow’

The annual assistance from the Centre to the state has increased in last few financial years, according to official statistics, even though the Uttarakhand government has been firing salvos at the central government over it.
 
Two days ago, the state Congress unit demanded `4,000 crore financial assistance from the centre.
According to the central statistics office figures, the Centre released `4883.74 crores for the state in 2011-12. It released `4717.68 crores in 2012-2013. And in 2013-2014, it increased the assistance to `5418.60 crores.

Uttarakhand is one of the 11 Himalayan states which enjoy special category status besides Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim.
 
These special category states have to make part payment to the centre in lieu of getting funds for centrally-sponsored schemes.
Interestingly, on an average, central assistance has been substantial for the state though it has not helped Uttarakhand in increasing its Gross State Domestic Product (GSDP) which is total monetary value of goods and services produced by a state economy in a given year.
“GSDP depends on various factors like rate of savings and investments and overall business atmosphere. But that doesn’t mean the state does not need help,” said Surender Kumar, media in-charge for CM adding that the state needs more funds.
 
The figures for Uttarakhand GSDP growth at constant (2004-5) price (as on 01-08-2014) was 9.36% in 2011-12. It was 5.61% in 2012-13 and 5.65% in 2013-2014.
 
Sometime back Planning Commission constituted a committee to study development in hill states arising from management of forest land with special focus on creation of infrastructure, livelihood and human development.
 
The report of the committee was discussed in Internal Planning Committee meeting held in February this year.
A Planning Commission note claimed that IPC broadly endorsed the recommendations of the committee. The report has also been forwarded to states for further inputs.

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