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

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Savarkar 'opposed' Bhagat Singh's, Netaji's dream of India, supported British war efforts

By Shamsul Islam*
In a shocking development, the student wing of the RSS put the busts of martyrs Bhagat Singh and Subhash Chandra Bose with Savarkar's on one pedestal at the University of Delhi late in the night on August 20, 2019. Bhagat Singh sacrificed his life for a socialist-democratic-secular republic and Netaji raised Azad Hind Fauj (INA) consisting of people of all religions and regions for armed liberation of India.

UN experts object to GoI move to 'reinforce' trend of prosecution, eviction of tribals

Counterview Desk
In a report sent to the Government of India, three United Nations (UN) special rapporteurs, expressing "concerns" over the failure to ensure "adequate" implementation of the India Forest Rights Act (FRA), have regretted that the Government of India has not cared to reply their previous communications on this.

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

RTI Act holy cow for Govt of India? Official insists, don't ask why, when, what, where

By Pankti Jog*
The Government of India appears to have begun treating the Right to Information (RTI) Act as a holy cow. Its officials seem to believe that the Act is a sacred law, under which people shouldn't be questioning its functioning. One recalls what Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing an RTI convention in 2015: “Why should government wait for people to ask information, we will have all information out in the domain, we have nothing to hide."

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

As submergence stares Narmada valley, Patkar says: With powerful in throne, we're helpless

Counterview Desk
Well-known anti-dam organization, Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), plans to begin its “Resist Illegal Submergence in Narmada Valley” satyagraha on August 21 at Jantar Mantar, Delhi, amidst news that the situation in the valley is “critical”, with two persons having already died in flood-related incidents in the upstream of the Sardar Sarovar dam.