Cots are available on hire for Rs 25 a day in the campus of the Belpahari Rural Hospital which caters to Olodchua, Bhulabeda, Banspahari, Kantapahari and other areas of Belpahari in Jhargram subdivision which leads to pressure all around the year.
The 15 bed hospital which the Health Department planned to make 50-bed is unable to cope particularly during the monsoons when there is a rush of patients afflicted with malaria, seasonal and water-borne diseases.
A doctor at the hospital said on condition of anonymity, "What would you have done if you were a doctor here? Should we refuse patients because of shortage of beds? We try our best to give them proper treatment inspite of the problems."
West Midnapore District CMOH, Dr. Nripati Roy said, "We had planned to make Belpahari Hospital a 50 bed one. But work for upgradation has stopped for some unknown reason. We hope to re-start the work soon.
"Once the process of upgradation is complete there will be no problem. We will then also recruit more doctors and medical staff," Roy said. Subol Murmu of Amlachoti village in Belpahari said that the cost of hiring a bed has put a strain on the resources of patients who were mostly poor. "It is hard to bear this extra cost, but we have no other alternative."
Another villager Chandan Karan of Bamundiha village said that it was a choice between having to sleep on the ground or paying for a cot.
Local MLA Chunibala Hansda said, "I have not heard of any other place where patients have to hire a bed for being treated. This is ridiculous.
"The upgradation of the hospital has stopped for unknown reasons and patients have to suffer a lot. There is a shortage of doctors and medical staff," Hansda said.
"The government is saying it is doing many things for Belpahari and the tribal belt, but in practical terms what are they going?"