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Kishore Talukdar
Date of Publish: 2016-11-15

Mamoni Raisom Goswami’s Dream Hospital Needs Oxygen


A hospital that Assam's literary great Mamoni Raisom Goswami held closed to her heart is in ICU. The seven-member management committee of the hospital has resigned after its plea for adequate staff went unheard. Sheer government apathy has left a hospital that caters to 20,000 rural folk in shambles.

That's not the only insult to Goswami.  Government named the hospital after her father Umakanta Goswami and and uncle Chandrakanta Goswami but in government records the hospital continues to be run as Amranga Borihat Mini PHC.

"It is an affront to the literary figure because she donated her prize money for a health centre that could serve the minimum requirement of rural populace,” says Deepak Das, the working president of the Mamoni Raisam Goswami Smriti Rakhya Samiti.

Goswami’s family too is unhappy. Her younger brother Jayanta Goswami says the government has reneged on its promises. “Shortage of doctors and other staff has paralysed the hospital. Upgradation of the status of the hospital is only for name sake," Jayanta Goswami, who is also President of the hospital management committee tells nezine.com.

The literary giant had donated Rs 40 lakh, when she was awarded the Prince Claus Award of The Netherlands in 2008. The award was conferred on her for her contributions to culture and development. Goswami gave the money for the construction of the hospital.

“Her desire of fulfilling her dream was so intense that she even took a pension loan of Rs 5 lakh at the last hour to pay the construction company,” says Deepak Das. The hospital which is meant for round the clock service is running with just two doctors. There is nobody heading the hospital.

Emergency services are so badly affected that its registered number of patients has come down to 50 from 200-250. ironically, the hospital is well-equipped for delivery and has ultra sonography and X-ray facilities.  Himanta Biswa Sarma,  the then Assam Health Minster, who is also the present Health Minister  promised to upgrade the 12-bedded hospital to a 30-bedded one but that never happened.

"We submitted a memorandum of demands to the Joint Director of Health Service, Director of National Rural Health Mission and the Kamrup Deputy Commissioner but got the cold shoulder. We were left with no choice but to resign," says Das.

Four lower rung staffers at the hospital, appointed by the management committee, have been working without salary. “We are working without payment for the past two months,” says Pabitra Kalita, one of the hospital staff.

The health centre was a much-cherished 65-yr old dream of the Jnanpith awardee which seemed fulfilled when the foundation was laid on August 17, 2009 by Himanta Biswa Sarma. It took root in a six- year-old Goswami when she saw a leper lying under a tree in front of the existing site of the hospital. The one and a half acre plot was was donated by her father way back in 1951.

Local residents as well as the people across the state hope, in memory of Assam's great literary icon, the government will spur into action and give the hospital the oxygen it needs.

Kishore Talukdar

(Kishore Talukdar is an independent journalist based in Guwahati. His areas of interest include Development journalism and Environment journalism. He can be contacted at tdrkishore@gmail.com )



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