State of affairs at hospital irks Lokayukta team

Staff Correspondent

Complaints registered against officials

Medicines for malaria and new equipment put to disuse Patients accuse hospital staff of seeking bribe Irregularities come to light at the town municipal council office

HASSAN: A Lokayukta team, which raided the Sri Chamarajendra District Hospital here on Saturday, expressed disappointment over the way the hospital is functioning.

The team members found a huge stock of unused medicines for malaria and syringes. At the physiotherapy section, they found new machines not being used by the staff. Poor maintenance of records at the blood bank enraged the members.

Patients complained that the staff of the hospital harass them by demanding bribe for check up, operation, medicines and post-operative treatment. After hearing their grievances, District Lokayukta chief George Fernandes advised District Surgeon Devamani to make efforts to "improve" the condition of the hospital.

Addressing presspersons later, Mr. Fernandes said many people have complained about corruption in the hospital, but he is helpless as he has no powers to initiate action against errant officials.

"However, I will file a report to the Government on the appalling state of the hospital and direct the heads of various departments to take corrective measures," he added. On the lack of powers to the Lokayukta, he said though 11 cases have been booked against errant officials, the Government has not permitted him to prosecute them. Forty-eight cases are pending trial.

The Lokayukta police have been conducting raids in the district for the past three days. They raided the town municipal council office at Shakleshpur on Thursday and detected misappropriation of funds earmarked for the welfare of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes. They have registered two cases against the officials concerned.

At the town municipal council office, the team discovered that the authorities concerned have purchased furniture worth Rs. 48,000 for which they obtained a bill for Rs. 1.40 lakhs. Complaints against the chief officer of the town municipal council and others have been filed under the Anti-corruption Act.

When the team members visited schools under the purview of the town municipal council TMC, they found that the authorities have purchased slates, books and pencils for more than the maximum retail price and not distributing them to schoolchildren. The members have sealed the rooms where stationeries have been stored.

When the members sought records pertaining to roadworks, they were informed that the engineer concerned had taken them to his house. Mr. Fernandes directed the authorities to ask the official concerned to meet him at this office with the file. When the members visited the taluk panchayat office, they discovered misappropriation of funds earmarked for the Scheduled Castes and the Schedules Tribes. The Lokayukta police also detected misappropriation of funds in the implementation of the food-for-work programme on Friday. They have seized 32 files in connection with embezzlement of funds and directed Lokayukta Inspector Panchaksharappa to inspect the works. At the Government Hospital, he directed Taluk Health Officer Narayanaswamy to take steps to maintain hygiene.