About 35 illegal nursing homes, clinical labs operating in Poonch, Rajouri

Gopal Sharma
JAMMU, Aug 14: About three dozen clinical labs, diagnostic centers and nursing homes are operating illegally and in clear violation of standing court orders in Rajouri and Poonch districts of Jammu region.
Official sources said that mushrooming growth of illegally operating clinic laboratories, nursing homes and diagnostic centers, under the nose of district administration in Rajouri, Sunderbani, Nowshera, Kalakote, Kotranka, Darhal,  Thannamandi,  Poonch, Mandi, Surankote and Mendhar areas have posed a great risk to the life of the people of this border belt.  Despite clear directives from the Apex Court to the State Health authorities, these nursing homes, clinical labs and diagnostic centers are being accorded relaxation and  allowed to operate by the concerned authorities at the cost of health of the general public.
Sources further said that the court has clearly issued orders to seal the premises if such units are not registered  and granted valid license under the Jammu and Kashmir Nursing Homes  and Clinical Establishments (Registration & Licensing) Act, 1963.
Pertinent to mention here that recently a middle aged woman  from Darhal area who was admitted  to District Hospital Rajouri was asked by a doctor of the hospital to get the required tests done in a selective local private Lab. As most of the results appeared very disturbing, the family got worried and rushed her to Jammu. In a reputed Jammu Lab and also at GMC Jammu, these tests were performed and  she was told all  tests were alright and she had fever due to some infection.
Sources in Health Department revealed that   more than three dozen such Labs, small nursing homes and diagnostic centers are illegally operating in Rajouri and Poonch districts. While more than 65 percent  such units are in Rajouri, rest are in Poonch district.  Hardly 60 percent of  the total existing units in these twin districts  are registered while others are operating illegally. The general public has been put to grave risk.
A senior Medical Officer said that these units must have proper permission from Municipal authorities/ Notified Area Committees, authorization from J&K Pollution Control Board for safe disposal of bio-medical waste, proper permission from UEED for sewerage and drainage, building plan with details, registration certificate from Industries/ Labour Deptt  details of visiting doctors/ Medical staff and their qualification etc. After completion of required formalities they must apply to the Health department at Jammu/ Srinagar.
Director Health Services Jammu, Dr Gurjeet Singh  when contacted said that he has already issued directions to the concerned CMOs  to take action if any such illegal lab, nursing home or diagnostic centre is operating in any district under his control.  He said mushrooming growth of such units is not only in  Rajouri and Poonch but in some other areas as well.
When asked about any such action against such labs in Doda, Udhampur, Ramban, Kishtwar, Kathua and other areas, the Director said such standing instructions are for all the district heads.   He maintained that Department would seal  such units which are operating illegally.
Sharing information, Dr Gurjeet  said there would be about two dozen such units operating illegally in these two districts but he would seek complete detail from the concerned CMOs shortly  and also issue fresh directions to seal such illegally operating units. He said life of the people is more precious  than anything else.