With Rs 19.5 lakh from the Centre failing to materialise over the past three years, Dr DN Kotnis Health and Education Centre at Salem Tabri finally downed its shutters. The Centre has treated over 2,000 drug addicts over 18 years.
The money for the 15-bed facility — registered with Department of Social Security and Development of Women and Children, Punjab — that treated around 300-350 patients a year stopped coming after the state government changed rules for its functioning.
The new rules ran against some Central guidelines that led to the fund crunch.
PATIENTS DISCHARGED SIX MONTHS AGO
The evacuation process by the centre had begun six months ago when, anticipating closure, all patients were discharged. Only outdoor camps were being conducted.
“In its 18 years of service since 1998, the centre has treated over 20,000 patients both within the centre as well as on outside camps. In 2011, the state government amended the rules for functioning, some of which ran counter to Central government guidelines. Hence, the district failed to pass the grant appeal to the centre,” said Dr Inderjeet Dhingra, head of the Centre.
“Despite the district’s failure, on behalf of the centre, a file was sent to the district welfare officer for grant of funds twice in 2013 and again in 2104. Apart from that, the file was also sent to secretary, ministry of Social justice and empowerment, in 2016, highlighting the problems with funds not coming in. The letter even encompassed the decision to shut down the centre, if the grants were not continued,” he added.
“While the centre has already been out of work since six months, the team has been actively conducting outdoor camps of de-addiction including in areas of Nawanshahar, Sangrur and the Central Jail,” Dr Dhingra added.
Officers from the department of social welfare could not be contacted in spite of several attempts.