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Defunct machines hit patient care in north Kashmir

The inoperative CT scan machine and endoscopy equipment have hassled patients who are forced to travel to Srinagar or be at the mercy of unaffordable private clinics
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh | By Mir Ehsan, Srinagar
PUBLISHED ON NOV 30, 2019 10:38 PM IST

The two vital machines at Medical College Hospital in north Kashmir, home to one-third of Valley’s population, are defunct from the past six months.

The inoperative CT scan machine and endoscopy equipment, which were installed in 2014, have hassled patients who are forced to travel to Srinagar or be at the mercy of unaffordable private clinics.

“Not a single CT scan has been performed in the hospital from past six months. During emergencies, the patients are referred to Srinagar but many don’t have money or resources to travel to hospitals there or afford private care. The hospital cannot even treat patients suffering from heart attacks,” said traders federation general secretary Engineer Tariq Mughloo while terming the situation as “unfortunate”.

Besides the CT scan machine, the endoscopy equipment has been lying inoperative due to a minor snag or replacement of some bulb.

“The machines have been deliberately kept dysfunctional to help the private sector,’’ he alleged.

The hospital has a daily footfall of around 5,000 patients from rural Kashmir, especially of those living in the far flung areas.


Director (coordinator) for new medical colleges in Jammu and Kashmir, Dr Yaspal Sharma, said the issue was not brought to the notice of the state government.

“We have sufficient funds to purchase new machines. The hospital authorities did not inform us about the issue. I need to check it,” said Sharma, adding that communication among officials was hindered due to internet ban.

“We used to get regular updates on the functioning of the medical college by the officials. However, things have been difficult after the internet ban,” he said. 


Medical College Baramulla principal Dr Hameed told Hindustan Times that the company which had installed the machine does not cooperate with the hospital administration.

“We have been trying to get them (company) to the hospital to repair the machines but they have refused to entertain us. We have no option but to wait or look for alternatives,” the principal said. “Money is not an issue. However, in order to buy one, we need clearance from senior officials,” he added.

Commissioner secretary, health and education Atul Duloo said he will enquire why the machines have not been repaired till date.

“We have a new system under which we don’t need to get any annual maintenance contract signed with the companies for equipment of the hospitals. We will try to address the issue on priority,” he said.

Sources, however, said the five-year equipment warranty by the company ended in March following which they had approached the hospital authorities for a fresh contract. However, the authorities refused to renew the contract.

“The machines have generated all the money spent by the government on it, still they have been kept defunct deliberately. Nobody is bothered to make it functional,’’ said a hospital employee, adding that the equipment have been infested with rodents and depreciated, spiking thee cost of repair further.

Bilal Ahmad, a social worker from north Kashmir, said, “Earlier, we used to approach political leaders with our complaints. With state under lieutenant governor, the officials don’t entertain our pleas as majority of them are non locals who are least bothered about such issues which cater to the poor population.”

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