Social activist Daya Bai will begin another protest on Monday in Kasaragod to draw the attention of authorities to fulfil the long-pending demand of people to complete the construction of Kasaragod Medical College Hospital at Ukkinadka.
She is attending the protest, organised by Movement for Better Kerala (MBK), a non-governmental organisation, days after ending her indefinite hunger strike in Thiruvananthapuram that forced the government to give a written assurance to the demands made by her for the welfare of endosulfan victims.
Sreenath Sasi, coordinator, MBK, said that no protest or suffering seems to have opened the eyes of authorities to improve medical facilities in Kasaragod.
“Nine years have passed since the foundation stone was laid for the construction of Kasaragod Medical College Hospital by the United Democratic Front (UDF) government. But, except for the empty promises of ministers and the authorities, the facility is yet to become a reality,” he said. All these years of protest have only managed to bring a primary health centre with an outpatient facility and a few beds, he alleged.
Foundation stone was laid in 2013 for two medical colleges in the State. One of the medical colleges, in Idukki, has been completed, and it has started full-fledged functioning. However, the construction of the other facility in Kasaragod is progressing at snail’s pace. The authorities are still uncertain when the work would be completed, he said.
While the authorities said that financial problems were the reason for the delay, the same did not affect the medical college in Idukki, he argued.
He alleged that people with vested interests and the government’s step-motherly treatment to the district was the reason behind the delay. Even the Opposition party is not ready to raise the issue, he added.
So far only the administrative block is complete at the Government Medical College Hospital. However, the construction of hospital buildings, lab pharmacy, appointment of necessary staff, doctors, nurses, and paramedical team are still lagging behind.
The National Medical Council has decided that an MBBS course can be started at a facility only after undergoing treatment for at least two years. This means the course in Kasaragod Medical College may not start soon, Mr. Sreenath said.
Meanwhile, E.P. Rajamohan, special officer, Kasaragod Development Package, said the construction of the hospital building was done utilising ₹52 crore from a project of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
Mr. Rajamohan further said that Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB) has given administrative approval for ₹160 crore to purchase necessary materials for the hospital. Of this, financial sanction of ₹35 crore has been received. KIIFB has allocated ₹16 crore for the electrification work in the hospital. The tender for the same has been completed and the work has started, he added.
Projects amounting to ₹67.25 crore will be utilised for the medical college by including it in Kasaragod Development Package. Out of this amount, the administrative block has been completed using ₹27.03 crore. Similarly, for ₹29.25 crore, the construction of hostels for doctors and female students is progressing, he said, and added that it will be completed within a year.