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

Whistle-blowing IPS officer Sanjiv Bhatt's wife suspects foul play after truck hits her car

By Nachiketa Desai*
Paranoia has seized Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Sanjiv Bhatt, after the car she was driving was rammed in broad day light. According to Shweta Bhatt, it was beacon light-flashing truck without registration number plate. The incident took place on January 7, just a day ahead of the Gujarat High Court was scheduled to take up the bail application of Sanjiv Bhatt, arrested last year for "involvement" in a 23-year-old case.

Call to support IIM-Bangalore professor, censured for seeking action against Uniliver

Counterview Desk
Sections of the Indian Institute of Managements (IIMs) across India have strongly reacted to the decision to censure Dr Deepak Malghan, a faulty at IIM-Bangalore. Prabhir Vishnu Poruthiyil, who is faculty at IIM-Tiruchirapalli, has sought wider solidarity with Dr Malghan, saying, "The administration has censured Deepak for merely suggesting a meaningful action against Hindustan Unilever for their abysmal environmental record" by “disinviting” it for campus placement.

Morari Bapu, who has installed new statues of Ram, Laxman, Hanuman without weapons

By Sandeep Pandey*
A saint is one who can give some inner peace by his/her voice. This will happen only when s(he) will talk about love and harmony. Morari Bapu is one saint who has been conveying the message of love, peace, harmony, fraternity, etc. Today when a number of saffron clad figures with aggressive posture, spewing venom, fanning hatred to polarise voters are at the forefront of politics of Hindutva it is a relief to see Morari Bapu in a different mould.

99% MGNREGA funds "exhausted", Govt of India makes no additional sanctions: Study

Counterview Desk
A letter, addressed to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and prepared by senior activists led by Aruna Roy on behalf of the Peoples’ Action for Employment Guarantee (PAEG), and signed, among others, by 80 members of Parliament, has regretted that, despite repeated public statements by his government promising employment and job creation that will boost the country’s growth, the country’s only employment guarantee programme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA), “is being systematically undermined.”

Nuclear reactors sought from French giant "not safe": Letter to Modi on Jaitapur project

Counterview Desk
Amidst reports that the French nuclear giant EDF has submitted a “techno-commercial offer” for the world’s largest nuclear power park proposed in Maharashtra’s Jaitapur nuclear power park in Jaitapur on the Maharashtra coast, Dr EAS Sarma, India’s former Union Secretary in the Minister of Power, and an eminent voice in the civil society, has written an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who also heads Department of Atomic Energy (DAE),  protesting the move.

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Kerala land being acquired using "draconian, anti-people" National Highway Act, 1956

Counterview Desk
In a letter Chief Minister of Kerala Pinarayi Vijayan, senior activists and politicians have insisted that the Kerala government should not agree to "inhuman displacement and buid-operate-transfer (BOT) Toll system", imposed by the Government of India and the National Highway Authority of India, for widening the current National Highway (NH) 66.

Kaiga NPP expansion: Karnataka to get just 400 MW, but lose thick forest, fresh water

Counterview Desk
In an open letter to the chairman and members of the Atomic energy Commission (AEC) on the issue of Kaiga nuclear power plant (NPP) expansion plan in Karnataka, Shankar Sharma, well-known power policy analyst, has argued that that in case of expansion, the site will face “exponential increase in radiation emission risks”, underlining, “Nuclear safety experts identify such a scenario as enhanced risk for NPPs with multiple reactors and shared technical facilities."
Sharma says the questions that also be asked whether Karnataka should lose more than 54 hectares of thick forests and about 152,304 cubic meters of fresh water per day from Kali river for a meager benefit of 400 MW from the Kaiga NPP, for which “there are many benign alternative options available for the state at much lower overall costs to the state.”
Text of the letter: This has reference to the public hearing under the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Rule 2006 of Ministry of Environment, Fore…

Uttarakhand High Court: Biodiversity boards can impose fees on Ramdev's Divya Pharmacy

By Mridhu Tandon
In a significant decision, the Uttarakhand High Court on December 21, 2018 has dismissed the writ petition filed by Divya Pharmacy founded by Baba Ramdev and Acharya Balakrishnan, challenging the demand of the Uttarakhand Biodiversity Board (UBB) imposing fees under the provisions of the Fair and Equitable Benefit Sharing (FEBS).

Modi becoming Prime Minister now appears to be an "accident" to the people of India

By Sandeep Pandey*
Anupam Kher's film 'Accidental Prime Minister' has targeted Dr Manmohan Singh who served for two terms and may be again acceptable for the job if his party regains power. But his tormentor Narendra Modi seems to be out of breath even before his first term is over. Disillusionment with him is so widespread and deep that people of India may not bear with him for another term. As the general elections approach again the difference between the two needs to be examined.