Hospitals’ apathy put NSS’ Punarjani drive in deathbed
By Shafeeq Alingal | Express News Service | Published: 17th July 2017 07:43 AM |
KOZHIKODE: The ‘Punarjani’ initiative of the technical cell of the National Service Scheme (NSS) has been highly appreciated for making non-functional equipment in government hospitals available for staff and patients. Thanks to the scheme, the state saved Rs 30 crore by repairing damaged and out-of-use furniture since the initiative’s launch in 2013.
But as the adage goes, ‘no good deed goes unpunished’. The NSS volunteers of an engineering college were the latest to learn this when they visited the Perinthalmanna District Hospital seeking permission to hold a ‘repairing camp’ at the hospital.
“When we reached the hospital, we were asked to meet the officer in charge of the finance section. To our dismay, the officer discouraged us from holding the camp, claiming the hospital had already signed a contract with a government agency for the purpose,” said an NSS volunteer.
The volunteers alleged the hospital authorities were reluctant to cooperate as they hoped to make financial gains by contracting outside agencies to repair the furniture.
This is not the first time NSS volunteers in the state are denied permission to hold such camps despite their sterling success. In 2014, authorities of the Idukki District Hospital turned down the volunteers’ request to hold a camp.
“Authorities of a hospital even told the volunteers not to ‘spoil’ the livelihood of ‘several persons’ who were earning their bread from contracts to repair damaged equipment,” said Abdul Jabbar Ahmed, state coordinator of NSS technical wing. “Some hospitals remain reluctant in accepting our help. They might be driven by financial interests,” he alleged.
In 2016, ‘Punarjani’ saved the state exchequer Rs 19.5 crore by conducting 74 camps in 71 hospitals and three colleges. A total of 57 engineering colleges and technical institutions participated in the camps. Only Rs 75 lakh was spent on buying raw materials, refreshments and t-shirts.
Camps at 55 govt hospitals
The NSS technical cell will hold camps under the ‘Punarjani’ initiative in 55 government hospitals across the state during the Onam vacation. The technical cell is looking create assets worth Rs 18 crore through the seven-day camps.