Health infrastructure in the State of Tripura: An Appeal to Chief Minister thereof


An old adage attributed to Virgil has these golden words: The greatest wealth is health. Given the universal truth of these words, and given the well merited position of the Chief Minister , Tripura , it is perhaps audacious of me to spotlight and stress the crucial importance of galvanizing medical entrepreneurship in our Tripura with the aim of boosting a robust, responsive, economic and people-oriented health infrastructure.

This is one of the urgent, paramount needs of the day in our state. For all the official attention given to health over the years in Tripura, there has been no radical initiative that would have achieved a quantum leap in the health facilities available to the state’s denizens. There was a half-hearted attempt during the late 1970s or early 1980s to modernize health infrastructure in the state, led by the Late Bimal Sinha, then Health Minister. He liaised with the renowned Care Hospital of Hyderabad to get it to establish its outlet at GBP Hospital premises. Care Hospital brought to Tripura State then-prevalent state-of-the-art medical equipment, techniques and personnel, with focus on cardiology, and this was done at a very nominal cost.

The best cardiologist of Care Hospital, Dr B. Soma Raju, happened to come to Agartala, and I availed of the opportunity to take my ailing mother to him. This cardiologist of international fame, a giant in his field, sprang to his feet on seeing my rather emaciated, septuagenarian mother and greeted her with a respectful “Pranam, Mataji”. I am sure half of her suffering was alleviated at that instant as she observed this spectacular and unforeseen behaviour. When the consultation was over, he again stood up and guided my mother to the door! It was the highest quality of not just medical care, but also moral support that a doctor could boost a patient with. It was because of this great man that my mother had the good fortune to live a further three or four years. I cannot adequately express the intensity of my regard for Dr Soma Raju.

Unfortunately, Care had to wind up their facility for reasons that one does not need not go far to find. They came to Tripura with altruistic motives, which if course did not exclude an element of profit-making. They primarily came to Tripura to offer to its denizens some of the best facilities available anywhere at the minimum possible cost.

Later, while I was in Jodhpur in 2009, I developed a personal bonding with the founder president of India’s famous ASG Eye Hospital, Dr Arun Singhvi (I still have his email and phone contact details, assuming they have not changed). I urged him to open an eye care clinic at Agartala. He agreed to consider this proposal but insisted that such a project could be possible only if the venture was granted a plot of land. I wrote a series of letters to the Government of Tripura and personally to the Chief Minister. Not one of my letters was even acknowledged! The Gandhis and the Bajpayees found time to personally respond to communications from the common man, but not the then dignitaries of the Government of Tripura. While ASG has now branched into 22 Indian states and two foreign locations, with 132 branches, alas! It is not here in Tripura, nor is any other leading medical care name of this generation. One of ASG’s branches at Guwahati is giving Shankar Netralaya a run for its money. They offer trail-blazing eye care at very nominal rates. From personal experience that has been both bitter and sweet, I can vouch, without any hesitation at all, that ASG is by far a better Institute than not just Shankar Netralaya, but also the equally renowned LV Prasad at Hyderabad!

Opening of health infrastructure is sure to have a simulative effect on health tourism from our neighbouring states and at the least the western parts of Bangladesh as well. We travel not to escape life, but for life not to escape us.

I am an old bureaucrat who has served Tripura and its denizens for decades, and I find our Honorable Chief Minister very pragmatic. I urge the Honorable Chief Minister to consider directing appropriate health officials of the Government of Tripura to initiate communications with ASG and other medical giants of equal impact to establish themselves in Tripura and provide their matchless services to our state’s people, with the emphasis on affordability of services offered.

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মন্তব্যের তারিখ (Posted On)মন্তব্যকারির নাম (Name)মন্তব্য (Comment)
23.03.2023Rana Jodhbir JungI sincerely hope the CM considers the proposal with utmost sincerity. Mr. Sinha was Health Minister during the tenure of Sadharan Deb. So it may be during 90s.