Lawmakers splurge on renovations, while hospitals ignore the poor

On 21 October, when the newspapers carried reports about the move to convert Balabrooie (the government guest house next to Chitra Kala Parishad) into a club house for legislators, there was also another news item. A toddler was mauled by stray dogs. The grievously injured child was rushed by his migrant labourer parents to the BBMP hospital in the area, but there were no specialist doctors available. So the toddler had to be taken to KIMS hospital at Chamarajapet. Thereafter the child had to be shifted yet again, to a hospital at Malleswaram.

Hospitals, especially government hospitals meant for those who cannot afford expensive treatment, turn away patients. Making the parents run around, from JP Nagar to Chamarajapet to Malleswaram is shameful and shows lack of accountability on the part of the state administration.

I don’t know if legislators are hanging their heads in shame and guilt, but certainly many of us, ordinary citizens are. Shame on multiple counts – this is not the first time that stray dogs attack a child, there exists a “dog squad” in the corporation, with staff drawing monthly salaries, who seem to do nothing.

In any other country, the corporation would be sued for hefty compensation, but a poor daily wage migrant worker does not sue, so it is “business as usual” for the dog squad, right ? Even a middle class family would be hard pressed to manage shifting of grievously injured child from one hospital to another; who pays the migrant labourer for all this transport?

The state has a minister in charge of hospitals, and various babus who get paid salaries to oversee the working of government hospitals and clinics. Instead of pulling them up, our legislators want to treat themselves to a club house, that too, by demolishing the state guest house which has one of the few expanses of greenery left in the city.

Legislators’ assembly hall is being upgraded with new carpets and fancy upholstered sofas and new toilets, costing Rs 17 crores (paid for from taxpayers’ money of course) but a poor family with a bleeding child has to run around from one area to another because government hospitals are not staffed properly! Another Rs 7 crore was spent a few weeks ago, for renovations at Vidhan Soudha’s legislative council hall.

Money is apparently not a problem. There’s plenty of it, for those who live it up at state expense. But no money—or more importantly, no political will or responsibility –to check stray dogs menace, or ensure proper working of government hospitals. Club house, indeed ! This is obscene, and a modern version of Nero fiddling while Rome burned.

It could be your – or my – child next, or one of us adults, bitten by dogs, and made to run from one hospital to another for emergency treatment. As educated urban citizens, can we let our legislators run amuck like this? If you can join other Bengalurians at Balabrooie (government guest house near Chitrakala Parishad) on 26th, please do lend the weight of your support to the protest against such criminal profligacy and anti-democratic moves.


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About Sakuntala Narasimhan 73 Articles
Sakuntala Narasimhan is a Jayanagar based writer, musician and consumer activist.