Dispensary turned into store room, NGO objects

The expansion of BBMP has led to some Panchayat dispensaries in the city region being moved out and the buildings being turned into storage.

Malavalli Chikkanna Charities (MCC), a trust that donated its land in Sheshadripuram to the Karnataka Government for construction of a dispensary is reclaiming it, as the unit has been converted into a storeroom.

The dispensary was built in 1957 by the health department on a land spread across 3,000 square feet. There were two doctors along with four other staff for attending patients. It was converted to a medicine storeroom around eight years back. From some years now, the trust has been asking the health department to hand over the dispensary to it since it was converted into a store room.

Sheshadripuram Dispensary

The Sheshadripuram dispensary is now used for storage. Pic credit: Gangadhar S Patil.

One of the trustees, who requested anonymity says, "We donated the land for the benefit of poor but the government is now using it as a store room," he says. MCC wants the building to be used for health care and not for stocking medicine, he adds.

MCC wants government to resume the dispensary or hand it over to them so that they could run it. We have our health care unit which provides free health facility to poor people. Their last request was made one year back to Health and Family Welfare Minister and Prinicipal Secretary to Health and Family Welfare Ministry.

"We don’t want the land back as it is not possible, we only want government to either resume the dispensary or let us run it", says the trustee. According to MCC, nearly 10,000 people are living in Risaldar and Srirampur slums, and they often need health care. "They approach us everyday but we are not able to help them", he says.

However, at least some residents of the area are themselves not complaining about the conversion of the dispensary in a store room. Mani M, a resident of Sheshadripuram said people now go to K C General Hospital in Malleshwaram by walk "It is a big government hospital, we visit there for all kinds of health problems", he adds.

Dr M Thimappa, the District Health Officer of Bangalore Urban says that the dispensary was shifted to Chickjalla on Sarjapur road as a part of a policy. As the building was lying idle, it is now been used for storing medicines, he added.

"All those dispensaries working within Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagar Palike (BBMP) limits were shifted to bring it under the Zilla Panchayat as these dispensaries are funded and run by them. (ZP) Dispensaries in Kalasipaliya, Minerva circle and Jayanagar were also shifted to other places," says Thimappa. Now the buildings used for dispensaries are either lying vacant or used for stocking goods, he adds.

People living in the BBMP limits are provided with Urban Health Centers (UHC), therefore it is not useful to have both dispensaries and UHCs in the same place, says Thimappa.

The decision to shift the dispensaries was taken by ZP authorities. The ZPs and BBMP are different local-government bodies and operate different accounts. "They are responsible for any expenditure made out of it to their elected members, thus they cannot spend for people living in jurisdiction of other authorities", explains Thimappa.

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