Hospital canteen located in the middle of  dumping ground
GURVINDER SINGH
[email protected]
Kolkata, 5 December
A day after Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Mr Ghulam Nabi Azad, visited Calcutta Medical College and Hospital and expressed dissatisfaction over the slow pace of construction work of the new units, something more serious has come to light which would have shocked the minister.
The canteen which serves food to around 3,000 patients in the hospital, including Calcutta School of Tropical Medicine, is a virtual dumping ground strewn by household waste and even toilet seats.
This correspondent who visited the canteen today was shocked to see the food being cooked in unhygienic ways.
The canteen has been recently shifted at Eden road, opposite gate number five of the medical college for the construction of a 10-storey building at the old premises.
But the new canteen is exposed to poisonous gases emanating from the plying vehicles, and is at the mercy of the residents of neighbouring buildings who use it as their dumping ground, the staff complained. “The food is prepared in a small room covered by tin sheds, while the premise is surrounded by wild shrubs and waste thrown by the neighbouring houses.  The vegetables, to be cooked, are kept on the ground because of space crunch,” rued Mr Indrajit Mohanto, the joint general secretary of Sara Bangla Hospital Rogi Kalyan and Asthai Thika Karmi Oiko Kendra, an organisation of canteen workers
“There is every risk of the harmful gases from the vehicles contaminating the food, while being wheeled to serve the patients,” said Mr Ranjit Mallick, a staff.  Experts say, the contaminated food if served to patients may lead to breathing and lung ailments.
If it’s terrible inside, its hellish outside as people attend to nature’s call near the canteen premises.  The staff complained that a single room has been allocated for the stay of the 38 cooking staff. “We can manage somehow during winters by sleeping in the dingy verandah or outside, but what about summers ?,” fumed a cook. A senior official said the canteen would be shifted to the original premises soon.