West Sikkim protest called off after Health Minister gives written assurance

Gangtok, 03 Aug:

State Health Minister, AK Ghatani, along with top health officials today conducted an emergency press conference regarding the recent protests against the department in West Sikkim.

Protesters under the banner of Sikkim Progressive Youth Forum had demanded proper health infrastructure and facilities at District Hospital in Gyalshing, West Sikkim.

The protest has been called off after a written assurance was given by the Health Minister.

“We are confident that 90% of their demands will be met within one month’s time and the other 10% will be completed within 3 months,” said MrGhatani.

Highlighting the State Government’s plans for improving health infrastructure and facilities in Sikkim, he said that the Government under the leadership of Chief Minister PawanChamling has been working “24×7”.

“Government has not backed out of any political commitments,” he further stated.

At present, he said that there are 147 PHSCs, 24 PHCs and02 CHCs in the State and that the Health Department is committed to making the health caresystem better and technologically sound.

Secretary, Health Department, Vishal Chauhan, also addressed the press conference and informed about the written assurance given to the protesters as per the Indian Public Health Standard [IPHS] norms.He stated that Gyalshing District Hospital already has 13 specialists and 10 labs.

“In many areas, it is more that IPHS norms,” he stated.

Accepting the non availability of surgeon and radiologist, he said that the department is advertising to fulfill such vacancies.

He alsohighlighted that the newly recruited 47 General Doctor Medical Officers [GDMOs] have been sent to rural areas and now onwardsevery PHC will have two Medical Officers.

He further added that the final result of 261 Staff Nurses will be published shortly bySPSC and accordingly hospitals short on manpower will be staffed.

Further he added that the department is confident of fulfilling the written assurance within one month and is also ready for a third party assessment.

He added that in a democracy, there is no solution without discussion and added that that the department is “willing to discuss with everyone and anywhere” for the larger good of the citizens.

MrGhatani, while expressing confidence in fulfilling the demands of the protesters, informed that a 50-bedded hospital on alternative forms of medicine like Ayurveda, Unani, Siddha,etc is also slated to come up in the West district headquarters.

One of the protesters expressed happiness on the written assurance made by the Health Minister and stated that they have now called off the protests.

However they have stated that if the department fails to meet the deadline, they will again take forward the “movement in a democratic way”.