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Pradeep Pattanayak

If you happen to visit Eastern India’s biggest Cancer hospital, Acharya Harihar Regional Cancer Centre in Cuttack, the sights of patients lying in open in this scorching heat while writhing in pain will definitely make your heart skip a beat. 

OTV’s team on Thursday visited the AHRCC and the scenes of how hundreds of cancer patients and their relatives are being left at the mercy of god left them moved. 

A patient named Hrushikesh Sahoo, a resident of Kendrapara district is among the hundreds of the patients who have taken shelter under a huge tree at the entrance of the hospital. 

After a discussion with him, it did not take much time to figure out the reason why they are so many helpless. 

Almost all of these patients hail from poor background. While they can’t afford the rent of lodges or inns, the hospital also doesn’t have any facility to provide them a shelter. 

“After my first round operation (oral cavity), I have now been admitted to the hospital, but not allowed into the hospital. Whenever confronted, the hospital authorities’ reply comes that the hospital is in shortage of beds,” said Sahoo. 

Sahoo has been spending days and nights on a polythene sheet, under the tree. 

Shrabani Kandi, a resident of Jagatsinghpur district, who has lost her left leg to cancer, has the same plight to narrate. She is waiting for her turn to get treatment. 

At a time when the government is claiming that it is spending crores of money to provide its people better health facilities, the scenes at the AHRCC are telling a different tale. It seems all have closed their eyes to the sufferings of these patients, leaving them to fend for themselves. 

“This is the biggest cancer hospital in Odisha. Thousands of patients visit this hospital from different parts of the State. In the absence of a rest shed, these patients are forced to lie in open, braving nature’s fury. Print and electronic media have been highlighting their plights. Despite this, the government is yet to come out of its deep slumber and do something for these hapless people” said a social activist, Suresh Mohanty. 

In this regard, the hospital authorities were contacted for their comments but they refused to comment.

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