TALCHER: At a time when robust healthcare infrastructure is the need of the hour amid an ongoing pandemic, residents in Talcher town are unable to avail basic services as the municipal hospital does not have a doctor for two years now.
This has sparked resentment among locals who feel even after contributing over Rs 1,000 crore in the form of coal royalty to the State exchequer, the town lacks basic health care amenities. Residents from many parts of the town like Hatatota, Remuna, Sharma Chhak, Baghuabol Bypass and Naba Mishra colony claimed that they have been raising this issue frequently given the Covid situation, but neither the municipal authorities nor the State government has paid any heed to their concerns.
Earlier, people of Talcher used to depend on a government hospital at Mandapal for ailments arising out of mining activities in the proximity. But given the lack of adequate health staff and other resources and growing medical needs of people due to large-scale industrialisation, a hospital was set up in the town municipality office in 1975.
It was later shifted to Hatatota area and a doctor and some paramedical staff were appointed for rendering basic healthcare. In 1993, Dr PK Das took charge and continued till 2019 when he passed away. Since then, no doctor has been appointed by the State government. As of now, the municipal hospital is being managed by a laboratory technician and a temporary medical attendant. The municipality has a population of around 2 lakh.
Alleging official apathy, concerned citizens have even questioned use of funds from the district mineral foundation (DMF). Commenting on the issue, executive officer (EO) of Talcher Municipality Rashmirekha Amanta said, “Higher authorities have been apprised of the situation and efforts are underway to appoint a doctor at the hospital at the earliest.”