Abid Hussain

After nearly 2-months of inhabiting, forces vacate PHC Gurwait in Budgam

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Locals allege forces of causing damage to PHC infrastructure

Gurwait (Budgam), Jan 20: After nearly two-months of inhabiting, the paramilitary forces finally vacated the non-functional Primary Health Centre (PHC) Gurwait in Khansahib area of Budgam district.

The locals of Gurwait told Kashmir Images that besides smashing of window panes, forces have damaged rooms, bathrooms, electric switch boards and bulbs of the hospital building.

"Forces have also dug the park on which bunkers were set up which are yet to be removed," said a local. "Rooms and washrooms are defaced and unclean. Polythenes, card board boxes, sacks, bottles, tin cans etc. are littered everywhere."

Last year on November 16, Kashmir Images had highlighted this issue with headline "Deserted by parent deptt, PHC occupied by paramilitaries".

The spacious PHC was taken over by forces in the wake of Panchayat elections in October last year after government's negligence in making it functional and compensate the landowner (whose three kanals of land were acquired by government for the construction of PHC).

After forces vacated PHC, Mohammad Afzal, a resident of Gurwait and whose wife is the owner of said land, lodged a complaint in the office of Station House Officer (SHO) and Block Medical Officer (BMO) Khansahib about the damage.

The complaint letters, copies of which are in possession of Kashmir Images, read that forces have damaged 50 percent property of the hospital and have stolen many things. The complainant has sought action against paramilitary forces.

Pertinent to mention that government had acquired land in 2007 in Gurwait from Afzal for the construction of PHC in lieu of compensation promises.

"We had only this piece of agricultural land which we provided to government in return of compensation and employment pledge. However, 12 years have passed, we got nothing and are forced to live a penurious life," he said. "After completing its construction, government abandoned the PHC."

Meanwhile, residents of Gurwait demanded that government must provide genuine compensation to landowner and make PHC functional.

They said that the operational PHC would bring health facilities to thousands of people from far-flung Gurwait, Mujipathri, Basant Wader, Kachwari, Trajkhal, Raithan, Watred, Dragad, Kralpathri and other areas.

When contacted, BMO Khansahib Dr Shabeena said, "Equipments are ready for PHC but there is a dispute between landowner and government."

About the damage caused to PHC by forces, Dr Shabeena said that she raised this issue with concerned SHO and also apprised Chief Medical Officer (CMO).

Meanwhile, CMO Budgam Dr Nazir Ahmad Bhat categorically denied health department's role in the PHC.

He claimed that Gurwait PHC is not sanctioned by government as former Khansahib Member Legislative Assembly built it on his own after using his approach.

While talking to Kashmir Images, former Khansahib legislator Hakeem Mohammad Yaseen said that if PHC is unsanctioned then who released crores of rupees for its construction? "Government has also sanctioned posts for the PHC," he said.

Yaseen added that it was "government's incompetence and health department's negligence" which left Gurwait PHC non-functional and made people suffer.

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