De-Salination Plant Supplying 1.5 -2 Lakh Litres Not Working Since Last Few Years

Port Blair, July 9: GB Pant Hospital in Port Blair, Andaman is the lone referral/ Treating Hospital (as well as the main COVID hospital) in the islands, which also is now a part of Medical College of Andamans. There have been complaints pouring in from the patients admitted in the hospitals and their attenders that there is no water facility in any of the wards of the Hospital. Having realized the gravity of the matter, the Ex-Member of Parliament, A&N Islands, Shri Bishnu Pada Ray visited the hospital at 9.00 AM on 3rd July, 2020. After having interacted with the patients and doctors it was found that there was no water in the Toilets/ Bathing room/ Wash basins and not even water for drinking. The reservoir tank was also found empty.

Bishnu after having inspected the situation in the hospital had met the concerned authorities of at APWD/ PBMC. The meeting resulted in the following findings, which has been marked to the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, Home Minister, Shri Amit Shah and others:

GB Pant Hospital is the main referral hospital in the Island Territory having 500 bed capacity (presently under Medical College). The beds are generally occupied by patients from remote outer islands. Generally, 2-3 attenders remain along with the patients (in case of Tribals, the number may go upto 10 or more). There is no night shelter for the hospital attendants adjoining the Hospital.

However, the capacity built in the Hospital is for 400 patients only (a severe shortfall as the capacity should be able to cater to 500 patients and the 1000 odd attenders at any point of time).

Other than the above, the six Operation Theatres require atleast 10,000 litres of water per day.

In 2019, the said hospital was getting water from APWD through Municipal Council @ 2.30-2.50 lakhs litre per day in the evening hours daily. Due to severe drought like condition in the islands (from last part of 2019), now in 2020 they are supplying curtailed quantum of only 1.10 Lakh litres per day.

A De-salination plant (conversion of sea water to potable water) was set up adjoining to GB Pant Hospital with an output of more than 2.00 Lakh litre per day. This was particularly catering to the requirements of GB Pant Hospital. The same is not functioning for past few years.

No water was supplied on 2nd July in the evening hours, which further aggravated the water issue in the hospital. There was no water in the entire hospital such as in Surgery wing, Female Wards, Male Surgical Wards, Labour Wards, Orthpaedic Wards etc. Even the Water ATMs installed by PBMC was not functioning in the hospital.

After upgradation of this lone referral hospital into a Medical College, many wards / equipment / Chambers/ test centre etc. have increased manifold but the water supply has reduced by almost half in 2020 rather than increasing from past years.

The non-functioning De-salination plant is lying idle for past few years. It was surprising to find that no steps have been taken for its repair. This is a serious lapse and can put the life of patients at serious risk.

It is not as if Administration is not aware of water scarcity in the territory, as at present water is supplied every 7 days to general public. The VVIP areas are, however, getting adequate water on daily basis.

The Administration ought to have ensured that critical areas such as Hospitals etc. get regular supply. Not only have it failed to do so, but the measures taken up earlier (like RO plant), which could have been used to avert such situation, has been lying idle for few years without any repairs!!!

Sadly, despite this crisis situation known to all, no senior Officer from the Administration have visited the hospital. There is hue and cry going on in the hospital and it would have been in the fitness of things, if the Administrator had also visited to get first-hand information on the situation.

It is also the main COVID Hospital in the territory and water scarcity can make matters worse for the patients and the corona warriors.