ROURKELA: Advanced and affordable healthcare services remain a distant dream for the growing Rourkela city. Due to lack of vision and political will, the Steel City, which is second largest city after Twin City of Bhubaneswar and Cuttack in the State, lags far behind so far as medical support system is concerned.
Though an urban population of nearly 5.3 lakhs, nearly 10 lakh rural population of Panposh and Bonai sub-divisions besides a sizeable population of adjacent Jharkhand depend on its medical facilities, the city has failed to get government sanction for medical college and hospital (MCH), a demand that has been raised time and again.
Known as the industrial capital of Odisha since the Rourkela Steel Plant (RSP) came up in the late 1950s, the city has also one of the best hospitals in Eastern India - RSP-run Ispat General Hospital (IGH). But, practically it works as a referral centre.
About a week back, Rourkela MLA and former Union minister Dilip Ray apprised Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik of the need for a government MCH.
This comes in the wake of the Government’s proposal to set up five MCHs including one at Rourkela. Ray said, “The entire healthcare system is serviced by private nursing homes only.” Critical patients are often forced to travel to Bhubaneswar and other destinations incurring heavy costs, he added.
Sources said the VSSMCH at Burla, 200 kms away, is of little help. In 2004, the Chief Minister had laid the foundation stone for a government MCH. But five years later, land and fund were sanction for private Hi-Tech MCH which has failed to meet the required health services till date. Private nursing homes refer the patients to IGH at the eleventh hour and the IGH, in turn, refers them to hospitals in other districts and neighbouring States.
A population of over 15 lakh depends on medical facilities in Steel City
Though one of the best hospitals in the country, IGH functions basically as referral facility
VSSMCH at Burla is of little help as it is located 200 kms away
Rourkela MLA Dilip Ray has apprised Chief Minister of the need for a government MCH