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Karnataka - Dharwad Printer Friendly Page   Send this Article to a Friend

A misleading menu that failed to impress

By Our Special Correspondent

DHARWAD, APRIL 7. A lavish spread greeted the Lokayukta, N. Venkatachala, and H. Sudarshan, Vigilance Director, today when they visited the kitchen of the Karnataka Institute of Mental Health, Dharwad.

When Mr. Venkatachala and Dr. Sudarshan walked into the kitchen, where the food was being prepared, neatly piled plates caught their attention. Chapattis had been rolled neatly, a well-garnished vegetable dish was in a small container, along with rice and curry. A small vessel with thick curds completed the menu.

Do patients get curds every day, they asked the authorities.

Soon, they discovered that buttermilk is routinely given to the patients instead of curds. Has this been kept to mislead us, they asked the authorities.

More was to follow. Dr. Sudarshan looked at the vegetables and wanted to know if they were served to the patients every day. A random check revealed that what is supplied to the patients is different from what had been kept for display.

"Who prepared this and for whom has this plate been kept aside," Mr. Venkatachala asked the authorities. There was no reply.

No answers

Every one, including the kitchen boys, the nurse supervisor, the Superintendent of the hospital and Mujavar, Administrator and Secretary of the hospital, who had just walked in, was silent.

One of them volunteered to say that the dishes were prepared for inspection by the administrator in his chambers.

The nurse supervisor said she got the groceries from the office. However, she was unable to specify the quantity of foodgrains received.

Dr. Sudarshan tried in vain to get information about the daily allowance for meals given to patients. But he and Mr. Venkatachala had to leave the kitchen without any answers.

More surprises

More surprises awaited them when they spoke to an inmate of the hospital.

What impressed Mr. Venkatachala was the manner in which the inmate, said to be from Shimoga, argued his case for release from the hospital.

He said his family members had dumped him at the hospital with the help of doctors.

There is nothing wrong with me, he said. But he had been labelled mentally deranged.

`Can't release him'

The hospital authorities told the Lokayukta that unless relatives come to receive patients listed for discharging, they cannot be released from the hospital. In this case, none of the relatives had come, they added.

The patient replied that would like to go on his own if the authorities allowed him to do so.

He told the Lokayukta that he should be allowed to walk out of the hospital in dignitary. "Once you go out, these people will not bother about us," he added.

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