Former CM K. Kamaraj had laid the foundation stone for the building

A maternity hospital, for which former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj had laid the foundation stone, is left to gather dust for the past couple of years.

The Virudhunagar Municipality that renovated the 55-year-old hospital building at a cost of Rs.15 lakh has not shown any interest to make it functional, complain people. The S.V. Annamalaiammal Hospital on Old Aruppukottai Road had been catering to around 10 wards of the municipality.

Kamaraj had laid the foundation stone for the building on July 21, 1958. The hospital has been functioning since 1959.

“It was very popular not only with the people of municipal wards but also the panchayats of Koorakundu, Kullursandhai and Soolakkarai,” said Jayakumar, councillor belonging to Communist Party of India (Marxist).

“Most of the people in the age group of 35 to 40 of years, including me, in this part of the town would have been born only in this hospital,” said J. Kalidass, secretary of Kamal Hassan Fans’ Association, said.

The staff and furniture of the hospital were shifted to P.C. Chidambara Nadar Maternity Hospital near Mariamman Temple 20 years back as the building required renovation. Since then, it has not been functioning, former vice-president of the municipality S. Balakrishnasamy said.

The municipality later renovated the building with Rs.10 lakh grant from the State government in 2010-11. “The money was not adequate and hence the work was stopped. An additional fund of Rs.5 lakh was released from the municipal general fund and the work was completed two years back,” he also added.

Pregnant women have to travel at least three kilometres to reach the government hospital.

“Even the Chidambara Nadar Municipal Hospital has been converted into an urban health centre,” he added.

A Siddha hospital run by the municipality had been closed two decades back. “With the municipality now not running even a single hospital, it should bring back its entire staff from Chidambara Nadar hospital and run it as a general hospital,” Mr. Jayakumar said.

It can cater to the pregnant women at least for registration of names for maternity assistance scheme and also for periodical check up and vaccination. “For emergency cases, the women can be shifted to the government hospital,” Mr. Balakrishnasamy said.

However, Commissioner S. Mani said every town could have only one medical centre. “We need to have sanction from the State government for posting medical officers and other staff to run the hospital,” he said.

Mr. Kalidass said the municipality should come forward to run the hospital at least now when it is celebrating its centenary year.

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