Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum members protest demanding better healthcare facilities at Gyalshing district hospital

Sikkim: How students shook Gangtok over better health services

After a 123-km foot march, members of Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum staged a sit-in protest in the capital city for over a week, until the govt decided to budge to their demands

Gangtok: The logjam between protestors led by Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum (SPYF) demanding proper health infrastructure and facilities at the district hospital in Gyalshing, West Sikkim, and the authorities concerned have finally come to an end with health minister Arjun Kumar Ghatani meeting the protestors, and giving them a written assurance on the matter.

Ghatani also convened a late-night meeting between the health department officials and the protestors on Monday.

The SPYF has been demanding for the past ten years for the implementation of the Indian Public Health Services (IPHS) norms at all district hospitals.

A bone of contention between the authorities concerned and the protestors was the lack of radiologists at Gyalshing Hospital. The minister has now agreed to send a radiologist, once a week, from the Namchi hospital in South Sikkim.

Among a host of other demands, the minister has also agreed to provide a surgeon to the hospital at least four times a month. A dialysis unit shall also come up at the hospital by the end of the financial year.

However, protestors have cautioned the government that they would resort to protests again if it fails to fulfill the promises.

The SPYF’s protests in Gangtok was a culmination of a 123-km ‘Gangtok Chalo’ foot march that was undertaken by its supporters from Gyalshing in West Sikkim to the state capital.

During a similar protest undertaken by the forum in July last year, the government officials had assured in writing that 90% of their demands would be fulfilled. However, SPYF members stated that despite the written assurance from the state health minister to fulfill their demands, nothing has been done till date.