HYDERABAD: People consuming alcohol or smoking ganja is a common sight on the terraces of unused buildings in the Institute of Mental Health in Erragadda — an issue that had kept IMH authorities worried for a long time. While the gruesome murder of an unidentified woman, whose legs were chopped and body dumped on the premises on Thursday, came as a shocker, IMH staffers said that the premises had become an ideal spot for unlawful activities.
With more than 60 per cent of the 44-acre campus covered by thick vegetation, IMH has become the new ‘adda’ for anti-social elements. Reason: there are two breaches in perimeter wall which make entry easy. IMH’s authorities, staff and security personnel on multiple occasions pointed out that more than 30 families have encroached and built homes on the campus premises. As soon as sun sets, a large part of the campus turns pitch dark and even security guards conduct patrolling only in pairs. To hinder free movement on the campus during the night, bulbs in street lights are damaged with stones almost every time they are replaced.
There are five wards inside the IMH campus: open and closed wards for male and female patients and a ward for prisoners. All of these wards are 200 to 300 metres away from each other. Nurses who are posted on night duty find it very risky when they have to move from one ward to another.
“Imagine how would one feel when they have to encounter a group of four to five strangers at 2 am. We encounter this situation regularly during night duties. The issues have to be addressed to ensure protection to us and patients,” sources said. It is also learnt that there have been instances when outsiders scaled the terrace of male open wards and disturbed them. “We have represented the issue of encroachers to the government,” said Dr M Umashankar, IMH’s superintendent.