Kargil, the theatre of an intense battle with Pakistan in 1999, today faces the threat of an outbreak of epidemic and is plagued by an acute shortage of medical personnel.
According to the latest estimates, Kargil district is short of 55 assistant surgeons. Government is struggling to enthuse doctors from Kashmir valley and the plains of Jammu to serve in Kargil, but finds few takers for the positions in the medical fraternity.
Situated in the Karakoram Range of hills 500 kms from Jammu, Kargil is one of the coldest places in India with some places like Drass touching minus 40 degrees Celsius. The Kargil district faces an ever present threat of outbreak of epidemics such as tuberculosis because of the poor sanitation during winters.
For six months in a year, people here have to brave harsh weather conditions. Given the threat of epidemics, there is a pressing need for adequate presence of medical personnel. But at present, most of its hospitals are short-staffed.
Health department sources told Hindustan Times that doctors from Kashmir valley and Jammu are not ready to go there because of the severe weather conditions. There are some social reasons as well, they say.
The government is ready to give extra allowances to serve in Kargil but this has not enthused many doctors to serve there braving the elements.
Director, health, Kashmir, M.A. Wani said, “There are few young doctors who go there but most of other doctors show reluctance. But still under National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) we have put in place the local MBBS and ISM doctors which have improved the condition there.”
“Shortage of assistant surgeons is everywhere in the state. We referred these posts to Public Service Commission (PSC), which has selected the candidates as well. But there is a case pending in the court in this regard and we are waiting for the final decision,” Wani added.