Srinagar: Collapsing health safety measures triggering an unprecedented rise in the no of COVID-19 positive cases in central Kashmir’s Budgam district has panicked populations falling under the jurisdiction of peripheral hospitals where most of the medical officers reporting office just for marking their attendance are found absconding from the duties throughout the day.
Authoritative sources while disclosing this to Kashmir Horizon disclosed that the office of Chief Medical Officer Budgam directly controlling and overseeing the working of covid healthcare facility centres has almost gone out of reach as allegations are galore he does not allow the complainants even to explain their complaints before him . Interestingly the Chief Medical Officer when contacted repeatedly by Kashmir Horizon for knowing his response to the collapsing covid healthcare facilities in the district could not be contacted as his mobile phone was either switched off or out of reach.
Sources said that while the complaints about mismanagement in quarantine centers and lack of proper upkeep and hygiene are rampant, the Chief Medical Officer is yet to furnish details about the expenses incurred on Covid-19 healthcare facilities from March this year which are estimated to run in several crores of rupees. Interestingly information about the expenditure and other related details are not uploaded either on the official website of health department or the official website of district administration Budgam. Prominent RTI activist Raja Muzzafar Bhat who himself hails from Budgam district, too has brought to light the sorry state of affairs in the health sector in the district in an exclusive essay published by a local English daily. Raja in his essay writes ” I could not see any COVID19 related details available on official website of Budgam district ( www.budgam.nic.in ). I recently emailed a detailed letter to Deputy Commissioner (DC) Budgam regarding non availability of COVID19 expenses information on his official website. Leave aside information related to expenses, I was unable to see other details related to this deadly disease. Central Information Commission (CIC) has been sending notices to Government of India ( MHA & Health Ministry) to ensure all the details about COVID19 are made public. In Jammu and Kashmir very few government websites provide this information and regarding expenses incurred during last 6 months, all departments haven’t uploaded any detail at all” and surprisingly CMO office Budgam is no exception as allegations are galore that CMO office Budgam is deliberately not uploading details about Covid-19 related expenditures.
The working of CMO office Budgam and the crumbling COVID-19 healthcare facilities are one way or other endorsing the allegations that COVID 19 has become a golden mine for the officers and officials of CMO office Budgam, who complainants say, are misappropriating funds release for the upgradation of the covid-19 health facilities in the district. Given the grim situation arising out of the pandemic, the daily inspections should have been fast tracked but records of last 6 months show that CMO himself has least bothered to conduct inspections physically to ascertain Covid health care facilities in the peripheral hospitals. In absence of regular inspections the complainants say that covid care health centres are most run by para medicos as medical officers report duties for short time just to mark their attendance only for the purposes of their salaries. As the health centers in the district are already grappling with the shortage of infrastructure, men and machinery are being shifted from district’s peripheral hospital to covid health care facility centres of Srinagar district leaving the hapless rural populations fuming. After a sharp spike in positive cases and an abrupt rise in the number of COVID-19 cases and deaths during the past couple of days in Budgam , a wave of anxiety and insecurity has developed among the people of the district. .