SHILLONG, Oct 09: The absence of any trauma centres in Meghalaya has prompted the Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee (PAC) to issue a directive to the state’s health department for the immediate setting up of such centres besides appointing biomedical engineers to ensure proper functioning and maintenance of machines procured by the department.
This troubling fact came to light when the PAC was taking up the issue relating to equipment known as Arthroscope which is needed to be kept at the trauma centre has been lying idle for past 15 years in the Shillong Civil Hospital, during a meeting held here on Tuesday.
In this backdrop, the chairman of the committee Charles Pyngrope said that as per CAG reports the arthroscope equipment used by the orthopaedic surgeons to diagnose deficiency of the bones and procured at a cost of Rs 21.31 lakhs in 2003 has not been utilized or made operational till date.
He said that the department has been asked to submit a report immediately as to what measures they are going to take in the future to ensure that such irregularities does not happen.
“The department was also asked to ensure this machine is put in place if it needs to be repaired it should be repaired so that it benefit the people of the state,” Pyngrope added.
On the other hand, PAC member and Mawsynram MLA Himalaya M Shangpliang upon enquiry, the health officials informed that the machine was procured as it was required to be kept in the trauma centre of the Shillong Civil Hospital but there was no manpower to man the machine.
“So they have bought a machine costing beyond Rs 20 lakh without having any trained personnel to man it which in the process it has now become out of order,” he said while stating that this is heights of irregularity that is happening in the health department.
Shangpliang said the health officials also failed to provide details on the procurement but said that there were just four quotations that were submitted at that point of time by a particular firm which now no longer exist.
When the PAC further enquired as to how many trauma centres have been set up in the state, the reply from the health officials was negative as they informed that there is no trauma centre in the state.
When the health department was reminded about the funds sanctioned by the Centre to set up 3 trauma centres in Shillong, Tura and Nongpoh, he said, “On that note the officials replied that the Tura trauma centre is under process of tendering but for Shillong and Nongpoh, they have not started yet.”
Stating that the PAC has viewed this matter very seriously, Shangpliang said, “The health department has been directed to set up the trauma centres immediately and the money sanctioned by the government of India has to be spend at the earliest because it has come as late as 2016.”
Meanwhile, the committee member also stated that it was sad to note that such a big department like the health department has not found it necessary to have biomedical engineers in the state despite of so many machines procured by the department.
“We have therefore directed the department to also immediately appoint one or two biomedical engineers be it on a regular or contract basis to repair and to man all the machines that the department procures,” Shangpliang said.