Banarpal: The central government has set up a super class hospital for labourers included in ESI scheme at Balaram Prasad in Angul district. However, the hospital is still not functional a year after its completion. This is causing resentment among the labourers, a report said.
According to the report, over 25,000 labourers are working in private and state enterprises in Angul and Dhenkanal districts. They are being deprived of ESI healthcare facility in their home districts.
Considering the huge numbers of labourers in the industrially rich Angul district, the Union Labour and Employment Ministry decided to set up the ESI hospital in Banarpal area. In 2013, five acres of land was purchased at Balaram Prasad. The work for construction of the hospital started in 2017 with an estimated project cost of Rs 65 crore. The super class ESI hospital equipped with 100 beds is under the Regional Director of ESI, Bhubaneswar.
In the hospital there are departments of cardiology, neurology, pediatrics, gynecology, medicine, orthopedics and ENT. Besides, it is equipped with modern machines for scanning, ECG and X-ray. Infrastructure for emergency ambulance service has also been put in place.
Locals alleged that the authorities concerned have not yet initiated process to appoint doctors, experts and specialists and para-medical staff till date.
About two months ago, a top official of the central government had taken stock of the work of the hospital. He assured that the hospital was to be inaugurated January 24, but till date nothing has happened.
Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, vice-president of the ‘Nalco Nirman Mazdoor Sabha’ said steps are not being taken to make the hospital operational. He said that sooner it starts the better it will be for the labourers.
Babuli Sethi, president of the ‘Nalco Shramika Sabha’ warned of widespread agitations if there is further delay in starting the hospital. “Labourers in large numbers have been waiting for various healthcare services from it for a long time,” he said.
Gokulananada Jena, a member of ESI Corporation, said that the construction of the hospital was completed a long time back. The Union Labour Minister and Secretary and the Regional Director of the ESI have reviewed the present situation. However, nothing tangible has so far worked out, he said.
Dr Prince Prakash, the district chief of the ESI, said that a large number of labourers were registered under ESI, but the dispensary for them is in a precarious condition and that too is being run from a rented house. If the ESI hospital starts, labourers would avail of various healthcare facilities, he said.