With snake bite and death cases increasing in the districts since the last couple of months due to heavy monsoon, people in Bankura are eager to know from when the first Snake Venom Collection Centre and Research Laboratory will start operating.
Over 500 people have called up the Didi ke Bolo helpline number, 9137091370, to enquire about the issue. Many other people could not register their enquiries as the lines remained very busy, according to sources.
Most of these calls have been reported from Bankura district, where the incidents of snake bite death cases are quite high, sources said.
A Detailed Project Report (DPR) prepared by Bankura Sammilani Medical College Hospital (BSMCH) in Bankura has been submitted to the principal secretary of state health department.
The chief minister Mamata Banerjee has also shown her keenness on the project and has directed to expedite the process which has been taking too much time to get final nods due to alleged bureaucratic red tape.
Once cleared by the state health department, the file will be sent to the Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) for final approval.
The country’s only authorised snake venom collection centre at present is in Irula in Tamil Nadu. The World Health Organisation (WHO) had earlier urged the Union health ministry to set up region-specific snake venom collection centres.
The infrastructure for the Bankura Snake Venom Collection Centre and Research Laboratory is ready.
Sources said that from a long time, a three-storeyed building within the campus of BSMCH, which earlier used to be an animal house, has been lying vacant as live animal experiments do not take place. The project will come up in Private Public Partnership (PPP) model and the snake catchers will be scientifically trained and identity cards will be provided.
Meanwhile, for the first time in the country, the state health and family welfare department has launched a free mobile app – ‘Snake Bite and Poison Information’, which can be downloaded from on any Android phone.
“For the last six months we have been working on this mobile app project and it was launched a few days back. All the details of poisonous snake bites with photographs have been provided and a special toll free number 18003450033 have been provided in the app in case of any emergency,” said Dr Dayal Bandhu Majumdar, state level resource person in snake bite training.
Giving full credits to the state government for taking up this mobile app initiative for snake bite cases, Majumdar said that the app has already become very popular and will be gradually upgraded with details of nearest health centre, hospitals and ASVS through maps in the days to come.