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Healthcare services paralyzed in M’pur
Correspondent IMPHAL, FEB 24:
Published on 25 Feb. 2010 12:07 AM IST
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Police on Wednesday forced the Out Patient Department of the JN Hospital, Porompat to open even as healthcare services at other government run hospitals including district hospitals, primary health sub-centres (PHCs), primary health sub-centres (PHSC) and Community Health Centres (CHCs) were suspended from Wednesday. The OPD services in government run healthcare centres were suspended after the employees of the state health and family welfare joined the cease-work strike of the employees of the Manipur government, under the banner of the JAC of AMTUC and AMGEO, demanding in toto implementation of the sixth pay bands recommended by the sixth pay commission. Official reports received from the police said that almost all PHCs, PHSCs and CHCs across the state remained closed for the day. However, the OPD at JN Hospital, the biggest state run healthcare centre was forced to open by the police and asked the doctors, nurses and other staff to attend patients who turned up at the OPD. However, few turn up of patients were seen at the OPD counter. The approach of the police was condemned by the employees of the hospital. “Our joining the strike does not mean that we don’t want to serve ailing people but government apathy compelled us to take the step,” a doctor of the hospital said. Police came at around 9.30 am and forced the counter of the OPD as well sections of the OPD to open. Employees of the state government is launching an indefinite cease work strike demanding payment of revised pay bands recommended by the sixth pay commission with effect from January 2006 with TA and DA which the government refused citing fund constraints but agreed to pay effective from April 2010. The cease work strike entered its fortieth day on Wednesday. The JAC of AMTUC and AMGEO also announced that employees of hospitals will cease work from March 2 totally. They have decided to discharge all patients in the different wards of these hospitals and not to entertain fresh admission after March 2. Meanwhile, Pharmaceutical companies are likely to stop sending medicine supplies to Manipur following an incident of hijacking of a truck laden with life-saving drugs and subsequent disappearance of drugs worth around Rs 15 lakh from Senapati sector of National Highway 39 on February 10. Disclosing this, Manipur Chemists’ and Druggists’ Association (MCDA) representatives on Monday appealed to one and all not to disturb the service of the drug suppliers in the interest of the people. According to a report in Sinlung, on February 10 last, a truck (NLD 2625) carrying 1,144 cartons of life saving drugs was reportedly hijacked on February 10. But when the truck was freed, only 768 cartons were said to be recovered. This resulted in a loss of around Rs 15 lakh, according to RK Ratankumar, a functionary of MCDA. When contacted, a senior police official said a case has been registered and investigation is on. “However, no arrest has been made so far,” the officer said. Following the incident, transporters carrying life saving drugs have resolved not to bring life saving drugs to Manipur until and unless the problem is addressed amicably, he informed. According to MCDA sources, transportation of a kilogram of drugs from Mumbai to Guwahati costs just Rs 2.50 only. However, transporters need to spent Rs 6.50 to Rs 7 for the same for the Guwahati –Imphal route. In view of such transportation burden the major companies have been reportedly saying that they would stop drug supply to Manipur. The recent incident is likely to hit drug supplies in the State. A similar incident had happened in May last year in which life-saving drugs worth around Rs 30 lakh were robbed off a truck on NH 39. The Manipur Chief Minister had then pledged in the Assembly that those involved in the robbery would be nabbed and penalised. But nothing has come out till date, MCDA officials lamented. The State had experienced a similar episode in August 2007 following an extortion notice from insurgent outfits demanding some percentage from the profits the companies and transporters earn. Showing solidarity on the issue of the latest hijacking incident, the pharmacies in Manipur affiliated to MCDA, decrying the incident, closed their stores and outlets on Monday.

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