Though opened three months ago, the formal inauguration of the 50-bed de-addiction centre at the Shaheed Babu Labh Singh Civil hospital was marred with controversy when media boycotted the event after state health minister Surjeet Kumar Jayani arrived late by two hours.
Officials of the health department who were busy in preparations for the last two days even to the extent of leaving basic duties to please the minister had invited journalists at 1 pm to cover the function on Saturday.
At 1 pm, most doctors and nursing staff started gathering outside the centre by leaving the outpatient department (OPD) due to which many patients remained stranded in the hospital.
Media persons also arrived at the de-addiction centre and were informed that the minister was shortly to reach there.
An hour after the minister failed to reach, doctors and officials present there repeated claim that the health minister would reach in 10-15 minutes, but to no avail.
Journalists kept waiting until 3 pm when the minister’s fleet of cars entered into the hospital. As soon as the minister came out of his official car, journalists decided to boycott the function blaming unpunctuality shown by the minister.
Civil surgeon Kailash Kapoor, medical superintendent Veena Pal and other senior health officials watched the angered media personnel, but they did not intervene.
Sources said that the function which was supposed to be over in two hours from (1 pm to 3 pm) completed within a few minutes as officials informed the minister about a boycott by the media.
The minister had also scheduled to address a press conference at the centre and at 3.20 pm, the fleet of cars went towards Shekha village and Noor Mahal, where the minister inaugurated rehabilitation and de-addiction centres late in the evening.
Meanwhile, many informatory boards were written in Punjabi, installed inside the centre, carrying wrong spellings on them causing embarrassment to visitors, who in turn blamed the health department for its negligence.
Patients were also suffered in the hospital as several doctors were gathered at the centre to welcome the minister.