DefMin concerned over condition of paediatric ward in Kashmir

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Srinagar, Dec 16 (UNI) The Defence Ministry has expressed serious concern over the non-operationalisation of a state-of-the-art paediatric ward in a north Kashmir hospital, constructed by the Indian Navy in memory of 20 school children drowned in a boat capsize in Wullar Lake on May 30 last year.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had inaugurated the paediatric ward in the district hospital at Handwara in border district of Kupwara on July 28 this year.

''It remains a cause of concern that even after six months of the inauguration of the paediatric ward, the state Health Department has been unable to provide the requisite staff for making it operational and the medical equipment worth hundreds and thousands of rupees are lying unused,'' a defence spokesman said in a statement here.

He said the paediatric ward remained locked for fear of theft of expensive medical equipment provided by the Indian Navy.

''The plight of the ailing children of Rajwar continues to be miserable. The aggrieved parents have approached the authorities to intervene in the matter and alleviate them of their sufferings,'' the spokesman claimed.

He said the locals have for long been demanding a child specialist at the district hospital. ''However, for now it seems to be a distant dream,'' the spokesman added.

The statement said 36-year-old Ghulam Hussain had to tread miles from Rajwar area to Handwara with his ailing child for treatment in the district hospital.

''But, he was shown the door and referred to a Srinagar hospital.

The poor man was denied the much-required medical treatment to his child,'' the spokesman said.

It was on May 30 in 2006 that a navy boat ferrying nearly 40 students from the Burning Candle High School of Handwara town in Kupwara district for a joyride capsized in the Wullar Lake at Watlab, about 75 km from here. As many as 20 students and two staff members of the school drowned in the incident.

UNI

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