Hundreds of government employees joined a number of Hindu seers in complaining about the lack of basic amenities at Ujjain’s Simhastha Kumbh, saying accommodation and meal arrangements made for them was poor.
Over 500 doctors and 2,500 paramedical staff from different parts of Madhya Pradesh say Ujjain authorities have put 25 beds in a single room with insufficient bathrooms facilities that were festering with mosquitoes.
A doctor from Sheopur said officials asked the doctors to eat in the bhandaras of sadhus as they didn’t have any budget to feed the medical staff.
“We have only two fans in our room, which houses around 20 people. How can we sleep in such scorching summer?” said a doctor, and demanded that coolers be installed.
The doctors were allotted a meagre Rs 80 as allowance per day, making it difficult for them to even meet daily expenses.
After protests before officials, some 250 doctors on Monday afternoon were provided lodging at a newly built hospital on Agar Road. The 450-bed hospital that was supposed to become functional before Simhastha could not take place for want of some remaining work.
Paramedical staff said they have be part of a to long queue to get food. The government sanctioned crores of rupees on arrangements for Simhastha fair but the situation is bad, said a compounder.
A race-like scene creates when food is served, he added.
Chief medical and health officer Dr N K Trivedi said doctors and staff are being allotted duty in different sectors where arrangements of stay have been made. He admitted some inconveniences but added that steps for comfortable stay were being taken.
Fire brigade employees said they were forced to sleep here and there as shelter huts for them were yet to be completed.
SP (fire) Rajesh Sahay said arrangements of stay for firemen were made in police camps.
Policemen in Sawarakheri police camp alleged chapatis made in the morning were being served for dinner and the quality of rice was also inferior. “Everyone is expecting good gesture and long hours of duty from us, exhorting that it was not a job but a chance to serve, but no attention was being paid to our hardships,” one constable commented.
Around 50 million people are expected to attend the month-long event in Madhya Pradesh and authorities say they have made arrangements for a comfortable stay for everyone.