Despite the health department mandating that a birth certificate be issued before discharging a mother and her newborn, the civil hospital authorities have failed to issue birth certificates even after six months in some cases.
Consequently, numerous parents are complaining that they are facing harassment in getting new birth certificates or copies at the hospital.
Besides, despite the norm of issuing a death certificate within two days, several people are also harried over not getting copies of death certificates despite repeated visits to the hospital.
According to the health department, the first copy of birth certificate is given free of cost at the time of getting discharged from the hospital. In case of another copy, the Right to Service Act mandates that a copy of birth and death certificates must be delivered within two days, and if the case belongs to previous year, the time limit is five days.
However, after covering a distance of 30km on a chilly Wednesday morning, Amandeep Kaur of Dhamout village got only disappointment once again after reaching the civil hospital as the office of birth and death certificates was locked.
According to her, this was her 15th visit to the hospital to get the certificate of her baby who was born seven months ago. She complained, "It's been seven months, but I have only faced harassment every time I visit the civil hospital, but am yet to get the birth certificate. They keep asking me to come again."
Seventy-year-old Pyar Kaur has also been visiting the hospital for the past four months to get the birth certificate of her grandson. "I reach the hospital after covering a distance of 50km from Machhiwara. But as always, even on Wednesday, I was forced to return empty handed."
For the benefit of mothers, the government gives an aid of Rs 1,000 after delivery at the civil hospital, but Kulwinder Kaur claims she has spent more than Rs 1,000 on bus fares while travelling between her in-laws' village Padori Rayian in Kapurthala and the civil hospital. "My son was born in October this year. But the hospital is yet to issue the birth certificate."
Ranjit Kumar said he had visited the hospital more than 10 times since the birth of his son in June this year, but has always returned empty handed. "A notice is pasted on a wall that the office will remain close on December 17, but it was closed even on December 18."
Another visitor, Kulwinder Singh, said, "I came to get the death certificate of my father. The room is usually locked and visitors are asked to return, irrespective of how far they have travelled. The officials are not concerned about our inconvenience. The only woman official at the birth and death certificate office is rude."
The harried visitors went to senior medical officer Dr RK Karkara's office. But even he was no available.
Dr Rajinder Gulati, who is a paediatrician at the civil hospital, said, "The clerk who was appointed for death and birth certificates is on sick leave. So, we have appointed another clerk."
Sources said the person appointed to issue birth and death certificates, was on VVIP duty on Wednesday.
When contacted, assistant civil surgeon Dr KS Saini confirmed that the first copy of birth certificate was given free of cost when mother and baby get discharge slip from hospital. "We will mark an inquiry into these cases and ensure that people don't face any trouble."