The Government Vellore Medical College and Hospital (GVMCH) is reeling under acute shortage of water after several bore wells on the premises of the hospital went dry.
Patients have been forced to buy water from shops and hotels in the locality and have to spend about `60 per day to buy drinking water. The situation in the hospital is worsening each day and sanitation in the wards is taking a beating. The hospital, which received around 1,500 outpatients each day and has 900 inpatients, has not been able to supply water to toilets, said some patients and their relatives.
“I admitted my wife to the hospital ten days ago for delivery. Since then, I have been buying drinking water from petty shops on the hospital premises. They are selling a litre of water for `3,” said Kumar of Periyankuppam, whose wife is in the post-operative ward after undergoing caesarean.
Vadivel said he had been buying water for `40 to `50 per day, pointing to a number of water bottles stocked near his wife’s bed.
Making things worse, there was no water in the patients’ latrines. “We have to use the drinking water even for toilet purposes,” said a patient on condition of anonymity. Some youth said the toilets were stinking and had not been cleaned properly for several days. “When we questioned a hospital staff about the filthy condition of the toilets, he replied that they couldn’t do much about it. The hospital does not have proper water supply to clean the bathrooms,” said Parthiban, the attendant of a friend, who met with an accident. Admitting to the water scarcity faced by the hospital, a senior doctor said there were 31 borewells on the premises of the hospital. Out of them, 28 had gone dry a month before summer started. “We need 4 lakh litres of water per day for the entire campus including students’ hostels, college and hospital. Of this, over 90 per cent is needed for the hospital.”
He said the entire district faced water shortage and where could the hospital get such a huge quantity of water on a daily basis.
Dean of the GVMCH D Thulasiram said, “Four new borewells have been dug by the PWD to tackle the water problem in the hospital and college. We also procure water whenever they is a shortage.”
The institution has also sent a proposal to the Directorate of Medical Education to establish a sewage treatment plant at a cost of `1.5 crore. “If the project materialises, it will help us recycle and reuse water,” he added.