Anantnag: The only tuberculosis hospital in entire south Kashmir, vacated from main town Anantnag to make way for a parking facility, has now been shifted to the Mattan area in the district – some 8 kilometres from the main town.
TB patients in the south Kashmir region have been facing severe inconvenience as a result, most of them unable to locate the new facility. The hospital, by the name District Tuberculosis Centre (DTC), was being operated from a building outside the Government Medical College (GMC) in Jangalt Mandi area of Anantnag town.
A few years back the hospital was vacated from the spot, and a multi-level car parking facility was constructed in its place. “Where else will you see a hospital being shifted to make a parking facility?” a furious doctor from the main town told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the hospital was shifted to Brakpora area on the outskirts of Anantnag town. “It is about 3 kilometres from where it was in the first place, but still a little manageable for the patients. But now they have taken it to Mattan and I cannot wrap my head around such stupidity,” the doctor said.
Mattan is some eight kilometers from the main town Anantnag and the Primary Health Centre (PHC), from where the DTC now operates, is hard to locate for patients, especially from other districts.
Most of the patients have now stopped visiting for their treatment, after failing to locate the PHC. “I went to Brakpora where I was told that the facility has been shifted to Mattan. I tried locating the hospital for a couple of days and then I gave up. I have left my treatment midway,” a female patient from the Khannal area of Anantnag district said, “Imagine the plight of the patients coming from other districts,”
TB patients from Kulgam, Pulwama, and Shopian districts have been thronging the hospital for years now, and all of a sudden, they are forced to visit Srinagar for the treatment of their disease.
“It is hard to fathom what is going on, but a simple explanation for the decision can be the fact that the Director of Health Services is a resident of Mattan. He has been accused of favoritism earlier as well and this does not come as a surprise,” a doctor in the district health administration told Kashmir Reader.
Kashmir Reader tried talking to the Director, Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad, but could not reach him given his phone was switched off mode.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag, Dr M Y Zagoo, however, maintained that the hospital has been shifted temporarily given the fact that the department could not find government-owned space in the main town Anantnag.
“Land has been acquired for the hospital and a DPR has been submitted for construction. It will however take some time to get the facility ready. The hospital will be shifted back as and when the facility here is completed,” Zagoo said.
It, however, will be years before the facility is completed and till then the TB patients from the entire south Kashmir will have to suffer.