Assolda is a beautiful seven-ward village panchayat wedged between the Zuari and Kushavati rivers and a scenic lake and falling in the former capital of Chandrapur (Chandor). It's located in Quepem taluka but is part of Curchorem constituency. Yet, its 6,000 residents are an ignored lot. Apart from travelling between 3 and 7 km for a post office, church or civic need, it's also a 5 to 7 km journey for a doctor.
Standing near the panchayat building is the sub health centre built in 1996 at a cost of Rs 3.5 lakh. It was supposedly renovated at a cost of Rs 2.14 lakh in 2005.
"It was never inaugurated and has never been used to provide us with healthcare facilities," says local teacher Thomas C Fernandes, "It is disappointing that the panchayat allowed it to be vandalized, with locals taking away the roof tiles and furniture." He smarts that the panchayat rents out its premises instead of using this "ready-to-use" structure.
Ironically, the village's 'functioning' sub health centre also operates from rented premises. Senior citizen Srikant N a i k s a y s , "We badly need a health centre.
The present one operates from a rented room at the back of a house, which has a bar running on the other side. It's a shame that the health department operates a health centre with only a wall between it and a bar."
Fernandes says there's no private practitioner in the village, forcing patients to travel 5-7 km for a doctor; while Naik says the sub health centre in the rented room hasn't seen a doctor for several months.
Dr Ganapati Kakodkar, health officer, community health centre (CHC), Curchorem, asserts the Assolda sub health center is "one of the best" among 10 such centers under CHCs jurisdiction. "This is the only sub health centre with a European-type toilet and is clean and tidy." He adds, "Yes, for the last three months doctors are not visiting the centre because the vehicle has broken down and there are no drivers."
Of the three drivers assigned to the CHC, one has been sick for a year, and there's been no replacement for the driver stationed at the Canacona PHC, he says. The directorate of health services recently asked the CHC whether the 17-year-old (rundown) sub health centre is in a suitable condition to shift the present rentpaying centre. "I have replied that the (building) has been vandalized. We are ready to shift the present centre only if it has all the facilities for doctors, staff and patients," says Kakodkar.
Sarpanch Sukash Dessai says of the rundown structure, "The building looks 100 years old. The panchayat has passed a resolution to build a new structure at the same place, demolishing the old one." Curchorem MLA Nilesh Cabral says, "I have taken photographs of the building and have sent one more reminder to the health minister, requesting him to renovate the structure immediately." [TOI]