Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Sep 4:
The Congress and the BJP on Thursday blasted the Odisha government, calling it ‘arrogant’, for its decision to send back the team of doctors deputed by the Union Health and Family Welfare ministry to assist doctors at the Sishu Bhawan in Cuttack in arresting the burgeoning death count in this premier paediatrics hospital in the state.
The Central team of doctors left for New Delhi on Thursday.
The decision smacks of arrogance, PCC president Prasad Harichandan said.
“The state government is utterly insensitive. It hasl remained adamant on its decision and is not bothered about the infant deaths. While the Centre and the state government have a healthy relationship on major issues, my point is that when there are not enough doctors in Sishu Bhavan, what is the problem that forced the state government to send back the doctors deputed by the Centre to assist the doctors to cooperate with them in providing better heath care to these ailing infants? The state governments usually seek the assistance of the Centre under such circumstances. After all, the Sishu Bhavan does not belong either to the BJP or the BJD,” Harichandan said.
Taking a dig at the chief minister, he said while the former has the time to inaugurate new projects and lay the foundation stones for the upcoming projects, he has no time to visit the Sishu Bhawan which has become a death zone since last two weeks where more than 60 infants have died.
“Our demand is let the chief minister visit the Sishu Bhavan and save the lives of the infants and ask the Health minister to resign from this post with immediate effect,” Harichandan said.
Reacting to the decision of the state government to send back the Central team of doctors, BJP Odisha Prabhari Arun Singh said the health services in Odisha are in a shambles now.
“The state Health department has completely collapsed. The state government has no compassion towards the ailing infants who are dying in Sishu Bhavan every day. The manner in which the state government has asked the Central team of doctors to leave the state, is indeed shameful,” Singh said.
Countering the allegation of the Opposition leaders, BJD spokesperson Samir Das said what the six residential surgeons deputed by the Centre will do at the Sishu Bhavan for six days when the state government has already filled up all vacant posts of professors and assistant professors.
“The BJP has resorted to politicising the Sishu Bhavan issue for which it had staged a state-wide agitation yesterday,” he pointed out.
Confirming the decision of the state government on Wednesday, Health and Family Welfare secretary Arati Ahuja had said since the state government, as per the recommendation of the Central team, has appointed seven resident doctors at Sishu Bhavan, there is no need for the six-member team of doctors deputed by the Union Health and Family Welfare ministry to stay at the Sishu Bhavan.
Talking to the media, Health and Family Welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said if the Centre is really keen to help the state, it should sanction a number of proposals for the development of health care services in the state.
“Instead of making stop gap arrangements, let the Centre fulfil the long term proposals of the state government if it is so concerned for the development of health care services in the state,” the minister pointed out.
It may be recalled that the Union Health minister JP Nadda, on the basis of the report by a Central team on the health care services at Sishu Bhavan, had deputed a team of six specialist doctors to Sishu Bhawan who arrived in Cuttack on Wednesday.
The team, during its 10-day stay at Sishu Bhawan, was to have assistrd the doctors in providing better health care services, examine the cause of infant deaths, advise the state government to formulate quick and long-term measures for effective treatment of the infants, and recommend necessary steps to ensure no reoccurrence of infant deaths in future.