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Healthcare in Odisha jail in hands of killer colonel, sweeper


Reported by Sandeep Lenka
Bhubaneswar, Feb 7:

A retired colonel, who is in jail for murdering and then slicing his wife into 300 pieces and a hospital sweeper jailed for murdering his doctor boss, are the de-facto doctor and compounder in the Jharpada Special Jail in the capital city of Odisha.

jharpada jail

‘Sambad’ had earlier reported the curious case of an eye specialist, who treated all kinds of patients in the jail, that houses more than 700 prisoners and under-trials including VIPs and business executives in high profile cases.

Human Rights Protection Cell (HRPC) Team and Officials from IG’s Office had visited the jail to inspect the situation following the report. Corrective measures were also taken. However, the current condition of health services inside the Special Jail is not only worse than earlier or more shocking, but is also a gross violation of human rights.

The eye specialist mentioned above continues to be at the helm of health affairs inside the prison. As if that was not enough, his commitments at his private clinic at Unix-9 flats of the city make him mostly unavailable to the sick inmates. The doctor usually reaches the jail at about noon and leaves at 1 PM and his second innings start at 4:30 PM and ends at 5:30 PM.

That leaves routine health services and emergency health care in the hands of retired doctor of Indian Army, Colonel Somnath Parida, who has been in jail for killing and subsequently slicing his wife into 300 pieces. His assistant is another undertrial Hari, a sweeper of Panda Clinic of the city who killed the owner of the clinic Dr. Brahmananda Panda and has been in jail ever since, who doubles up as the compounder.

Doctor outside the jail, doctor inside the jail !
Doctor outside the jail, doctor inside the jail !

While the mental stability of Col. Parida has always been in question after the crime, the capability of sweeper Hari to discharge duties of a compounder is unacceptable by any standard of medical practice.

The authorities of the special jail, located in the state capital are pretty sure about ‘what happens in jail, stays in jail’ as this practice goes on with complete knowledge of the jail authorities. In fact, Hari is paid Rs 40 per day to discharge the duties of a compounder by administering injections and salines to patients.

The patients are left with little choice. They have to either take the chance of getting treated by an allegedly mentally unstable doctor and untrained compounder or not get treated at all.

More often then not, they end up choosing the first. However, if preventives measures are not taken immediately, the perils of this health services will put many lives at risk.