THOOTHUKUDI: Starting a new canteen on Thoothukudi medical college hospital (ThMCH) premises, in addition to the two existing ones, has drawn widespread criticism. While the canteen’s existence is a culmination of a six-year-old legal tussle, the choice of spot has not gone down well with people as it is located bang opposite the postmortem ward of the hospital, raising questions on the unhygienic commercial practices.
Sources said that in 2012, a private contractor filed a case seeking a direction from the court to allow him to establish a canteen at ThMCH premises, which was challenged by the hospital authorities citing that there are already two canteens in the premises. However, after seven years, the court had directed the ThMCH to allocate a conducive place near maternity ward. Following the court order, the hospital allotted a place in front of the mortuary where it is now being set up.
In-patients said that it would be better to shift the canteen away from the postmortem ward as it emanates foul smell. Democratic Youth Federation of India district secretary MS Muthu said that the canteen which supplies eateries and milk for toddlers should not be placed near mortuary as it is unhygienic. Moreover, the stench and foul smell of the nearby septic tank may cause health hazards, he added.
Resident Medical Officer (RMO) Dr Silas Jebamani told Express that the canteen was set up based on a court order and due to space constraints, the location was earmarked following consultation with the Public Works Department (PWD), in order to avert proceedings of contempt of court, he said.