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No official checks as JK hospitals flout biomedical waste rules

Health institutions don’t file annual reports, ignore SPCB notices

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Hirra Azmat

Srinagar, Apr 08: Flouting the norms, most of the state-run hospitals lack the adequate facilities for bio medical waste management, endangering the health of people.

Bio medical waste contains a number of infectious bacteria and so it has to be handled very carefully and discharged in a safe manner, in accordance with the provisions of Bio Medical Waste Rules 2016.

 

According to the 2016 guidelines, waste should be collected in specified colour coded bags, disposal of needles and injections on the site, storage of colour coded bags in specified covered location, treatment and final disposal of waste at the authorized disposal site. Rules further provide implementation of barcode system for collection of waste.

However, Director State Pollution Control Board (SPCB), Dr Nadeem Hussain said the segregation of waste and colour coding was not followed properly.

“Waste segregation is confined to paper only. On the ground, less than 50% has been achieved when it comes to segregating waste,” Hussain said.

He said that most of the valley-based hospitals don’t have effluent treatment plants (ETP).

“Only SMHS had this facility, but even this has gone dysfunctional post 2014 floods. Till now, nothing has been done to fix this problem.” Hussain said.

According to the official figures, there are 67 government hospitals, 63 private hospitals, and 169 laboratories in the valley.

In addition, there are dispensaries, primary health centers, district, sub-district hospitals, registered and unregistered nursing homes.

“We understand that unauthorised health centers face several day-to-day problems when it comes to managing their waste including lack of adequate space for the waste treatment facility. However, I don’t see any plausible reason why the major hospitals don’t stick to the rules,” Hussain rued.

Hussain said the SPCB has now decided to send prosecution notices to the Government Medical College and Directorate of Health Services Kashmir.

“This procedure will be followed by our central office, as we have already communicated to them about the failure of government hospitals in submitting their annual reports,” he said.

As per one SPCB official, only two hospitals in the Valley have submitted the reports about their biomedical waste generation.

“So far, only Lal Ded Hospital and Chest Diseases Hospital have submitted the reports. The rest have not submitted the reports, despite several notices issued to them,” the official said.

Despite specific instructions from the PCB, the menace of dumping bio-medical waste in an unscientific manner is going unabated in the region.

Data reveals that around 3, 351 kilograms of such waste is unloaded and disposed-off in the two units at Lassipora and Lasjan daily.

Recently, the Environment Committee under the chairmanship of MLA, Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami had expressed dissatisfaction over the working of the treatment plants.

The PCB director said: “It is a fact that these treatment facilities are not working properly.”

Given the grim situation, the PCB had decided to close down the facility at Lassipora where the major portion of the waste from government hospitals is collected.

“The PCB had apprised the Environment Committee as well as Tourism Ministry regarding this issue,” Hussain said.

Dr. Arshid, a noted environmentalist regretted there is no proper waste management technology in the valley.

“The bio medical waste can have dreadful consequences. Over the years, the waste can mix with soil, air, and water. With the result, it can become a major cause for the outbreak of an epidemic,” Arshid said.

Moreover, PCB has no data on the number of hospitals to whom it has served a show cause notice.

 Dr. Sabeena, senior scientist and head of biomedical waste management cell, SPCB, said, “We don’t have updated data because hospitals are unable to file annual reports. This is for the first time that details that were supposed to be submitted by June 2017 have not been submitted till now.”

Sabeena further said, “In order to improvise treatment facilities, the online monitoring system is being installed in the hospitals and will be monitored by the board.”

The waste treatment plan followed by the PCB too needs change.

An official at SKIMS wishing anonymity said, “The waste generated by the hospitals demands a different type of treatment but in Kashmir, every type of waste is treated in the same manner by burning it using an incinerator.”

A doctor at Gousia hospital, Khanyar too agreed that there is no proper mechanism in place for waste disposal.

The unit holder at Lassipora, however, has a different story to tell.

“The health department provides us three rupees for each bed. In Samba, however, seven rupees are paid for the same.  Hospitals are not paying us our dues. The hospitals owe me around Rs 30-35 lakh in liabilities. If they don’t pay me my dues, how am I supposed to rectify my shortcomings?” he said.

 


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Lethpora bombing accused among 2 militants, soldier killed

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Srinagar, Jun 18: An Army soldier and two militants of Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) outfit including one accused of providing the car used in February 14 Lethpora suicide attack were Tuesday killed in an encounter in Bijbehera area of Anantnag district.

A police spokesperson said that on a credible input, a cordon and search operation was launched jointly by police and security forces at Marhama, Bijbehara.

He said as the operation was going on, the hiding militants fired on the search party. The fire was retaliated leading to an encounter, he said.

 

In the exchange of fire with the militants, one Army soldier Rifleman Anil Jaswal, sustained gunshot injuries. He was evacuated to the hospital where he succumbed, said the spokesperson.“In the ensuing encounter, two militants were killed and the bodies were retrieved from the site of encounter. The killed militants have been identified as Sajad Ahmad Bhat and Tawseef Ahmad Bhat both residents of Marhama, Bijbehara,” the spokesperson said.

DGP, Dilbag Singh said: “Sajad was involved in turning his car into an IED in February 14 blast.

As per the spokesperson, both the killed militants were affiliated with militant outfit JeM and “were wanted by law for their complicity in a series of crimes including attacks on security establishments…”

According to the police records, Sajad was wanted in Lethpora blast in which over 40 CRPF personnel were killed earlier this year.
“As per the material evidence collected during the course of investigation, it was learnt that Maruti Eco vehicle used for carrying out the blast in Lethpora was owned by Sajad Bhat of Marhama. As the news of Sajad’s involvement spread, he escaped and joined JeM,” said the spokesperson.

“A picture of Sajad carrying AK-47 rifle was also circulated on social media announcing his joining the outfit. Pertinently, Tawseef played a key role in recruiting of Sajad to the militant ranks,” he added.

“Both of them were part of groups involved in planning and executing series of attacks in the area. Several crime cases were registered against them. Some of the crime cases registered against Sajad include case FIR No 16/2018 and case FIR No 28/2019 pertaining to Lethpora attack. Cases registered against Tawseef include case FIR No 95/2018,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, after conducting all legal formalities, police handed over the militants’ bodies to their respective families for last rites.
Reports and eyewitnesses said that thousands of people attended their funeral at Marhama.
Tuesday’s was the second gunfight in the district in as many days.

On Monday, a militant and an Army man were killed in a gunfight at Bidoora Achabal.

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Pulwama IED blast:Two Army personnel succumb

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Srinagar, Jun 18: Two Army personnel, who were injured in an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) blast at Arihal village in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district Monday, succumbed to their injuries on Tuesday.
Srinagar-based defence spokesman said that two army men “with severe contusions/concussions were brought to Army’s 92 base hospital in Srinagar for treatment.”
“The duo succumbed to their injuries while undergoing treatment in 92 Base Hospital,” the spokesman said.
On Monday, at least a dozen soldiers suffered injuries when an IED which was fitted in a car hit the Hardened ALS vehicle of Army patrolling the area.
Two civilians also sustained injuries in the explosion.

Student’s body found near Achabal encounter site
Monitor News Bureau
Srinagar, Jun 18: Day after the Monday encounter, body of a civilian was found near the encounter site at Bidoora, Aknigam area of Achabal in south Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
Local residents said that body of Nasir Ahmad Mir (23) son of Fayaz Ahmad Mir of Check Achabal was found by people adjacent to the encounter site at Bidoora Tuesday morning.
Police reached the spot and took the body for post-mortem and other legal formalities.
Nasir, according to locals, was 1st year student at Degree College Anantnag.
On Monday, a militant and an Army man were killed in a gunfight at Bidoora.
Meanwhile, as soon as the news about Nasir’s death spread in the area, shops and other business establishments closed down while transport was off the roads.

 
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2 dead, at least 6 injured as boat capsizes in Lidder; probe ordered; aggrieved Guv announces ex-gratia

Rafting c’ship in Rouf’s name ends in another tragedy

Syed Nashir Ali Gillani

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Srinagar, Jun 18: A rafting championship Tuesday turned tragic in Pahalgam when two people died in an incident of boat capsize.

The championship was organized in honour of Rouf Ahmad Dar, the tourist guide who lost his life while saving five tourists in Lidder stream earlier this month.

The deceased include an employee of the tourism department and a participant who died after their boat capsized in the gushing waters.

 

Reports said that the boat carrying the employee namely Rinku Raja and the female participant namely Sanjna from Jammu along with at least five others, capsized in fast-flowing river.

The incident happened at 4.10 pm after the conclusion of the Rouf Memorial State Rafting Championship event. The 3-day event began on Monday, in which 12 teams from Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh participated.

Soon after the incident, a joint team of SDRF, police and local volunteers managed to rescue all of them. They were shifted to the nearby hospital where doctors declared Rinku and Sanjna as brought dead.

Reports quoted BMO Sallar, Dr Shakeel Ahmad saying that both the persons were brought dead while “six others” were injured.

“While five have been admitted one seriously injured person was referred to Srinagar hospital for specialized treatment,” the report said.

Commissioner Secretary Tourism, Rigzin Samphel said that boat capsized in Lidder and injured were shifted to hospital.

On May 31, last month, Rouf Dar saved five tourists, two of them foreigners, after their boat capsized in fast flowing river Lidder near Mawoora area of Pahalgam.

Unfortunately, Dar lost his life in an act of bravery which is being hailed by people and the administration.

Tourism Department Kashmir announced an inquiry into the accident.

The department has expressed deep regrets over the incident and expressed sympathies with the bereaved families.

Meanwhile, Governor Satya Pal Malik has expressed profound grief over the loss of precious lives in the incident.

Governor has prayed for peace to the departed souls and strength to the bereaved families in their hour of grief. He has wished speedy recovery to the injured.

He announced an ex-gratia of Rs. 2 lakh each to the next of kin of those dead and has directed the authorities to ensure best possible medical treatment of the injured.

Expressing concern over accidents occurring during the adventure sport of Rafting in river Lidder, Governor has issued directions that strict safety measures should be taken before indulging in this sport and emphasised the need for allowing only trained manpower in managing all the activities related to it.

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