Hyderabad: A primary health centre in the heart of Hyderabad, meant to be a six-bed hospital for pregnant women and new mothers, is empty. The labour room is dark, dingy and abandoned. Every piece of equipment in the operation theatre is covered in dust.
The staff says there has been no electricity for the last four months because the centre has not paid a bill of Rs 72,000. The electricity department has said it had no choice but to cut the supply as no payment was made despite reminders.
Also, no doctor has been posted here since January this year and auxiliary nurses and midwives (ANM) have been running the show. The centre is supposed to cater to a population of 70,000 people.
Manga who works here as an ANM says they had no option but to stop deliveries and other services. Emergency cases have to be turned away as there is no provision for sterilisation.
"From February 24, we have had no electricity. It's very difficult for the patients and also for immunisation. No delivery is possible. We have to send patients who come here elsewhere even though they can't afford it. For immunisation, we fetch ice-boxes from nearby centres, paying the autorickshaw fare from our pockets,'' she said.
The centre's refrigerator is testimony to that - it serves as a box.
Yashoda, who has come to collect iron tablets, says she is seven months pregnant and had hoped to deliver her baby here. "I had my first two children here. This is my third. But because there is no electricity, they are saying I cannot deliver the baby here."
Pushpa, a nurse at the centre says this used to be a buzzing hospital. Family planning operations and camps that were held here earlier have also stopped.
Senior medical officers said the neglect is because of the political limbo in Hyderabad in the last few months as people waited for the creation of the new Telangana state.
"Now, hopefully, the new government will address these critical issues at the earliest,'' said an official who did not want to be named.