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RIMS Heal cottage = Hell

Heal cottage is like hell - Tottering roofs, dirty, dank rooms & mangle of wires sum up RIMS comfort care

State-run Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS) has started a new crash course: dodge the peril. And a Jharkhand Armed Police jawan was the first to join class.

Forty-five-year-old J.P. Nayak had a close shave last week when a chunk of concrete fell off the roof of a RIMS cottage, where his septuagenarian mother is admitted for treatment of a broken bone. The policeman said his field skills and quick reflexes had saved the day for him.

There are 14-odd cottages at the government hospital that promises comfort care for patients who wish for treatment far away from the madding crowd of general wards. But though these AC and non-AC heal chambers are priced 10 times more than a normal bed at RIMS, they are as run-down as any relic from the past.

Leaking roofs, tottering ceilings and walls, peeling plaster, naked wires and stinking garbage are salient features of these cottages, which are meant for moneyed patients and even ailing VIPs.

Speaking to The Telegraph on Wednesday, Nayak said he had opted for a Rs 150-per-day cottage for his 70-year-old mother instead of admitting her to the general orthopaedic ward with stinking Rs 15-per-day beds because he wanted the best for her.

What he apparently didn't realise is that at RIMS, even the best is challenging.

"I was taking a shower one morning last week when I sensed a sprinkle of plaster beside me. In no moment, a part of the roof came crashing," he said. Nayak was lucky to have sensed danger and agile enough to avoid it. "But what if my elderly mother, who somehow manages to walk with a stick, was inside the bathroom at that point of time? Things would have turned worse for her," he said.

Nayak wasn't forthcoming in being clicked because he said he might face disciplinary action from his police bosses, but he was candid as far as the condition of their non-AC cottage was concerned.

"The entire cottage was piled with garbage and there wasn't any electric bulb. The fan too wasn't working. When we asked the nurses, they said they don't have any bulb and the cleaner would come tomorrow. How could we wait so long? I cleaned the room for my mother and fixed the bulb," he said, adding that when the hospital was charging for a cottage it should at least clean the room and toilet before allotting it to a patient.

RIMS employees admitted that the cottages were in real bad shape. "While the non-AC ones cost Rs 150 per day, the AC ones are charged at Rs 250 a day. But rooms are not maintained," said an employee.

The corridor too is in dire need of repair while electric cables lie open near the staircases. The cottages on the ground floor of the two-storey facility also have to battle foul smell, courtesy unclean drains right outside the boundary wall.

A nurse on duty conceded that the RIMS cottages needed urgent repair. "No maintenance work has taken place for at least three years. But it is up to the management to decide," she said.

Mahesh Chandra Choudhary, who is in charge of maintenance at RIMS, contended that the government hadn't given separate funds for building renovation or upkeep for three years. "We do get an amount of money for annual maintenance, but it is generally exhausted in payment of electricity and drinking water bills. Besides, there wasn't any provision for building work in the budget given to us by the government for the functioning of RIMS earlier. I don't remember the amount exactly, but a separate estimate for renovation of cottages has been made this time and the hospital's governing body has okayed it. But the file can be sent to the government only after we get the minutes of the meeting.

Of the more than dozen cottages, only three are currently booked. One of them hosts former minister and tainted Madhu Koda aide Kamlesh Singh.

Is RIMS more of a peril zone than a health hub? source-telegraphindia.com

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