By Sahil Mahajan
Even after the pandemic is gone, whenever happens , one thing is clear that Jammu would have lost much more than any other region in the country. It is as simple as that. This region, particularly Jammu district, has counted more bodies as compared to other parts of the Union Territory, due to the virus. There is no doubt that various factors brought about the situation for Jammu, but what should also be remembered is that there were many flaws amongst the people that enlarged the scale of the disaster.
At the moment, Jammu is face to face with this disaster and it is has a ripple effect. The death census inflicted by the Covid-19 has eroded confidence of the masses in the health institutions, and the biggest let down has been our healthcare infrastructure which has been found desperately wanting.
The infrastructural deficiency posed a big problem. But the question that remains unanswered is why this deficiency persisted ? The hospital authorities almost everywhere were happy not to have the basic facilities of the oxygen generation plants, ventilators and other machines needed to meet requirements in the normal times,. The state of these deficiencies adding to the impact of disasters like pandemic could have well been imagined. That’s the lack of vision for which the price is being paid now. Related to the chronic absence of the vision is the corruption apart from lack of the sense of duty. Two type of corruptions bedeviled the system – one was the corruption at the political level where the politicians in their self-serving nexus with the bureaucracy hampered progress of the health institutions . There were delays in making purchase of machines, construction of the oxygen plants, and adding bed capacities to the hospitals. These may sound obsolete range of arguments, but what is not being appreciated is that how this corruption became so deadly that it has now started consuming even those who wielded power in their time to go in for course-correction.
Second level of corruption, however, is well known that how substandard machinery and medicines were bought. The fake medicines were the killing pills which were administered to patients who required life saving drugs. The machines, so bought, were either lying packed or those have become dysfunctional in the absence of the skilled technicians. This is double-corruption. It is photo-op politics and riddled with corruption from head to toe.
Frankly speaking, the people are also not innocent in this game. Our priorities have been self-centered, seeking personal favours, jobs for our kin or furthering our interests. That diminished our strength to hold the elected representatives accountable. We thought of hospitals and other health care centres only when we needed to visit these places as patients. Before and after that, we took it as a fait accompli. Or, at the worst, there were charges against hospitals, doctors and lack of infrastructure when patients were declared dead. This tendency continues as others, non-affected by the tragedies, still looked other way as if nothing was happening.
The scare and fear is not because the weaknesses of the system have been exposed on their own, but also because there is an indecent cover up. It now time for Jammu to wake up, it should step out of its closed mindset and work for its own well-being, though it is already too late as the losses are beyond any calculation. This fact will dawn when we shed our self-centered approach.