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No food, no water, no electricity: Hotel owner denies basic facilities to Kashmir docs as govt delays payment; Div Com says ‘resolving issue’

Srinagar: More than 50 doctors and paramedics are struggling to access basic facilities after a local hotel owner denied them food and snapped their electricity in an apparent bid to pressurize the government to clear his dues.

District administration had converted ‘The Valley View Hotel’ Karan Nagar into the administrative quarantine. More than 50 frontline medicos from SMHS Hospital including resident doctors, registrars, senior registrars, and technicians were lodged in the center. 

 

The health professionals, who are from the Department of Medicine, Department of Forensic Medicine, and Department of Anesthesiology, are posted in the medical ICUs. 

“We have been staying here since April and not even a single bill has been released in their favour. Till now they were providing services by spending from their own pocket. However, last week the kitchen was closed, and food services were stopped,” a group of doctors told The Kashmir Monitor.

What is more baffling is that the doctors who are supposed to stay in administrative quarantine have to wander on the streets to buy food.  “Imagine the doctors who come to the hotel after discharging their duties and are sent to fetch food. When we were supposed to be in the quarantine, we were going out and ordering food from outside?” said a doctor.

The healthcare workers said the problem worsened after the electricity supply was snapped.

“There is no electricity, fan, or water supply available at present. The hospital should have been a priority for the government, but we don’t even have access to basic amenities like electricity and water. How do they expect us to work in hospitals? Forget food, at least provide us these basic things,” a resident doctor rued.

He pointed out that frontline workers are already been targeted for being associated with Covid-19.

“We have been stigmatized for discharging COVID duties. We are not even allowed to visit shops or canteens. Who would give us a rented accommodation in this crisis?” asked another doctor.

General Manager of The Valley View Hotel Sheikh Adil said the electricity supply was snapped after they failed to clear the dues which amounted to Rs 1.45 lakh.

“For the last four months, we were providing the best services to doctors who are at the frontline of the Covid-19. But now the hotel has a liability of grocery shops, departmental stores, electricity bills, cable fee laundry, and internet bills, etc, which need to be cleared,” he said.

Adil noted that he had submitted all the details to the DC office but has not received any positive response. “Our savings have been exhausted. We kept on reminding them to release the payments but they were dilly-dallying,” he said.

A top official from district administration said they have taken cognizance of the matter. “We are on the job and will do the needful,” he said.    

Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, P K Pole told The Kashmir Monitor that he is aware of the issue and will resolve it soon.