Skip to main content

Despite HC order, Gujarat govt fails to give permanent doctor to island-village off top private port, Pipavav

Pipavav's private port visible on way to Shiyalbet
By Our Representative
The Gujarat government hasn’t yet provided a permanent physician for the “remote” island, Shiyalbet, with a population of about 15,000 off Saurashtra coast, even though it is three weeks past the cut-off date set by the Gujarat High Court for providing a doctor to the sub-health centre in the village.
The village is situated just about 12 kilometres by sea from near one of India’s most high-profile private ports, Pipavav. The Gujarat High Court had had mandated the state government last month to provide a permanent doctor to Shiyalbet island-village, starting September 1.
However, local activists, who have been fighting a legal battle for Shiyalbet residents for the last about nine years, said, nothing of the kind has so far happened.
Arvind Khuman, lawyer- activist attached with the Centre for Social Justice (CSJ), Ahmedabad, and is based in Amreli, about 70 km off Pipavav, told Counterview, “Our aim was to equip the villagers with all the basic social infrastructure to Shilyalbet. That we had to take approach the High Court speaks volumes about the state’s governance.”
Khuman, who coordinates with local villagers said, “Following the High Court order, a doctor has begun to visit the health sub-centre in the village, but only once or twice a week. However, the doctor comes at will and goes away after sitting in the sub-centre for a couple of hours or so.”
The health sub-centre
Khuman further said, “There is still, clearly, no permanent posting of doctor. The doctor who comes to Shiyalbet from different primary health centres of the villages situated along coastal Saurashtra. The result is that, there is no continuity, and the villagers do not know when to approach the doctor. The sub-centre, situated just outside the village, remains deserted like before.”
However, Khuman conceded, “Following the recent outbreak of swine flu across Gujarat, two nurses, one male and another female, have been permanently coming to the health centre, whose building was constructed in 2012 following large number of representations to the state government.”
Petitioned eight years ago in the name of one Jandurbhai Menshibhai Baladhiya, vice-President of Shiyalbet Swayamsevak Sangh, an unregistered body working for the betterment the villagers, the demand to have a permanent doctor acquired added strength following a policy decision in 2012 to upgrade the sub-health centre to the level of Primary Health Centre (PHC).
Yet, no further action. “In the absence of any facilities facilities in the building, the residents of the island have had to cross the sea to reach the coast by boat, which is approximately 12 km, and then travel 15 to 20 km, to reach the nearest hospital in Jafrabad”, said Sumit Kumar Ganguly of the CSJ.
Activist Arvind Khuman (right) with Sumit Kumar Ganguly
During arguments in the High Court, government pleader Manisha Lavkumar argued that the non-establishment of PHC was due to “non-availability” of a full-time doctor, adding, with the construction of the sub-health Centre at Shiyalbet, a female health worker and a doctor would be made available. They would in the sub-centre between 10 am to 4 pm for 5 days a week.
Lavkumar admitted that, while 108 emergency ambulances were available in the coastal mainland Saurashtra, the decision to have boat ambulances for the fisherfolk has still not been implemented, adding, the state government had taken a “policy decision to purchase seven such boats ambulances, fully equipped to handle any kind of emergencies.”

Comments

TRENDING

Untold story of Jammu: Business 'down', students fear lynching, teachers can't speak

By Rajiv Shah
A just-released report, seeking to debunk the view that people in Jammu, the second biggest city of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) after Srinagar, people had gone “out celebrating” abrogation of Article 370 which took away the state’s special status, has reported what it calls “abominably high levels of fear” across all sections in the town.

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…

Why nobody objected to Gautam Gambhir, Sunny Deol in t-shirt, jean?: Activists

By Our Representative
Mimi Chakraborty and Nusrat Jahan’s excitement on their first day as MPs was overshadowed by a barrage of sexism over their ‘non- sanskari’ outfits, a group of civil society activists have said in a statement. According to Aarushi Nigam, Divya Kaushik, Riya Sharma, Ruman Ganguly, and Anulekha Agarwal, both Bengali actors and first-time MPs "were certainly excited to take them on when they posted pictures from their new workplace on social media."
Hit by misogynistic comments, the activists say, "Their choice of workwear – jeans and a white button-down shirt for Mimi, a wine-coloured peplum suit for Nusrat – was the first and last word on their political competence for many."
“You’re not on vacation”, “they have mistaken Parliament for Kolkata’s Nicco Park or City Centre”, “this is not a photo studio, this is a place where you should fight for people’s rights and legislate”, “keep some respect towards your Bengali society” were some of the &quo…

Kashmiris in a civil disobedience mode, are going against 'diktat' to open shops

Counterview Desk
A team of concerned citizens, including Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and writer Anirudh Kala, Mumbai-based activist and public health professional Brinelle Dsouza, Delhi-based journalist and writer Revati Laul, and social activist Shabnam Hashmi, travelled to Kashmir and Jammu to understand the impact of the abrogation of Article 370 and the subsequent security clampdown and communication blockade on the lives of the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K).

Gujarat CM aide 'doubts' authenticity of Gandhi article published in 'Harijan'

By Rajiv Shah
A top aide of Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani has doubted the authenticity of the article written by Mahatma on Gandhi January 27, 1948, three days before his death. Hitesh Pandya, who was assistant public relations officer (PRO) under Narendra Modi’s chief ministership in Gujarat, and is currently serving as PRO of Rupani, has said, there is “reason to doubt”, since the article appeared on February 1, 1948, two days after Gandhi’s assassination.

Denied permission in Ahmedabad to protest on Kashmir, NGO seeks online support

By Our Representative
Gujarat chapter of the Delhi-based Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD), which calls itself is a socio-cultural organization established “as a response to 2002 Gujarat riots”, has sought support from state academics, activists and professionals for a petition against the “unilateral” decision of the Government of India to “revoke” Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) legislature’s “right to self-governance”.

Success of 'political' Hinduism: Kashmiris being depicted as antagonists of rest of India

By Anand K Sahay*
There are times in history when facts call attention to themselves; they assert their independence in all its amplitude and are in no need of the crutch of interpretation. Such a moment is visible in Kashmir now. Merely by being on the table, the facts there taunt the regime’s proclamations.

RSS chief's Hindutva motto seems to be: Down with lynching, long live vadh

By Shamsul Islam*
India has turned into the lynching capital of the world. Our country has been tagged with this infamous identity with Narendra Modi becoming Prime Minister of India in 2014. The Modi rule herald the beginning of nation-wide spree of lynching of Dalits and minorities. Unfortunately, there is no government data collection on hate-crimes but few media outlets have been collecting the lynch data.