Assam tea garden health unit suffers from staff shortage, allege residents
The health facility in Lalamukh tea garden in Assam's Hailakandi district.

SILCHAR: A health facility in Assam’s Hailakandi district has allegedly been running without adequate health workers and medicines for several months, according to the residents.

Located in the Lalamukh tea garden under the Hailakandi assembly constituency, the health and wellness centre caters to around 20,000 people from different villages including Lalamukh, Gaglacherra and Lalacherra, among others.

According to locals, the centre, about 24km from Hailakandi town, has been suffering from a shortage of health workers for the past several months, thereby depriving patients of medical services.

“The medicines allotted to the centre are much lesser than what was given earlier,” a resident alleged.

The residents said even though people of and around the tea garden have not been receiving proper medical care because of the pitiable condition of the centre, the authorities concerned refuse to look for solutions.

They alleged that even though Lalamukh GP president Bishwapriya Sen had written to the Hailakandi deputy commissioner and the joint director of health services of Hailakandi around three months ago to bring the issue of the centre’s poor condition to their attention, no step has been taken till date. The inaction of the authorities has resulted in fury among the local people and this may lead to a democratic movement if the demands for the appointment of adequate health workers at the centre and supply of sufficient medicines are not fulfilled soon.

The residents demanded that adequate health workers be appointed at the centre at the earliest and sufficient medicines be provided. They sought the intervention of health minister Keshab Mahanta in this regard.

An elderly person from Lalamukh tea garden said the centre was acquired by the National Health Mission (NHM) under a public-private partnership (PPP) model in 2009-2010 with the goal to provide quality healthcare services to the people of the area. The facility was running well for a few years, but the condition worsened gradually.

A worker at Lalamukh tea garden said it is really sad and shocking that at a time when the healthcare industry is witnessing rapid progress in different parts of the country with new and advanced technologies being introduced, people of the Lalamukh are still being deprived of basic medical facilities.

Lalamukh GP president Bishwapriya Sen said the centre’s deplorable condition has resulted in sufferings for the local residents. The nearest health facility to the tea garden, besides the Lalamukh tea garden health and wellness centre, is the Vernerpur community health centre which is about 10km far. Another hospital, Lala community health centre, is around 12km away.

An official at the joint director of health services, Hailakandi, told EastMojo on Thursday that adequate health workers are available at the centre and patients are getting the required services. She dismissed the residents’ allegations and claimed that the centre was running fine.

Hailakandi AIUDF MLA Zakir Hussain Laskar that he would speak to the authorities concerned and that necessary steps would be taken for a solution if there is any issue at the centre.

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