Bhubaneswar: All is not well with the state’s oldest blood bank – Central Red Cross Blood Bank (CRCB) situated at Mangalabag, Cuttack, a stone’s throw from SCB Medical College and Hospital – with all its irregularities and graft in high places.
Affiliated to the Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), the blood bank was inaugurated by India’s first President Dr Rajendra Prasad way back in 1959.
Thousands of patients from Odisha and its neighbourhod reach SCB Medical College and other private hospitals in Cuttack for various medical needs. According to the website of State Health and Family Welfare Department, this blood bank feeds almost two-thirds of blood requirements of SCB Medical College & Hospital, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre, City Hospital, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel PG Institute of Paediatrics (Sishu Bhawan), ESI Hospital, peripheral governmental hospitals and 70 other medical facilities in and around Cuttack.
However, the information provided by IRCS authorities to a query under the Right To Information Act exposes the lackadaisical approach of the organization.
RTI activist Pratap Chandra Mohanty had submitted two queries on the same issue to the office of the Governor, who is also the ex-officio president of the Red-Cross Society, and the Red Cross branch office seeking information on the procedure adopted by it to recruit director of the Society (2018-19).
The query sent to the Governor was redirected to the state IRCS office to supply the needed information sought by Mohanty.
The Public Information Officer (PIO) of IRCS-OSB in its first response dated October 11, 2019 informed Mohanty (Letter No.1374/RC56/2019) that no advertisement or notification was issued to invite candidates for the post of its director.
Interestingly, responding to another query, IRCS (Letter No. 1564/RC 56/2019) informed the activist that notification and advertisement for the post of director was published but no interview was conducted.
In response to one query the IRCS shared the bio-data of the incumbent director while denying the same in the other response on the pretext of unavailability of information.
The sources claimed that the director does not have the requisite technical training to run a blood bank. The society also made no mention of special training undergone by the director while sharing his bio-data.
Meanwhile, the director has refuted the allegation and told Orissa POST that “All the procedures have been followed during the appointment. The training and publication of advertisement are not needed for the appointment of the director in a blood bank unit. The authorities have made some mistake while supplying the information under the RTI Act.”
Notably, Orissa POST in a story based on another RTI plea had informed its readers that IRCS has been operating the CRCB blood bank without a licence for the past 12 years. Similarly, the CRCB’s Thalassemia Day Care on their premises has not been registered since its inception in 2004.