THE MINISTRYS DILEMMA.
The huge exodus of the citizens of Calcutta to urban and rural areas, owing to blitz scare, has provided a serious problem for the Ministry of Public Health and Local Self Government. The conference of the Municipal Chairman recently held and presided over by the Honble Mr. S. K. Basu, acknowledged the gravity of the situation, although it could not come to any immediate decision as to the ways and means to be co-ordinated and adopted to solve the problem. The municipalities were not prepared for such exigency, and their funds are too meagre to cope with the prodigious demand for additional sanitary and medical arrangements imposed upon them by the colossal influx of people from the metropolis. The season for the various epidemic diseases of Bengal is fast approaching, and in some places these have already appeared to the dismay of the people and the municipal authorities. They in the mofussil cry hard for aid from the Government, while the forecast is a big in the budget of the next financial year, as it had always been in the past. The Honble Minister of Public Health has therefore to find how best he can meet the situation without encumbering the Exchequer which should be left as much unburdened as possible to flow to the Defence and Munitions purposes.
The cost of additional sanitary arrangements may be met by the respective Municipalities and Union Boards from the rates which they may levy on the immigrants, these rates being on a scale sufficient to meet the wages of the additional sweepers. Perhaps these additional sweepers have to be recruited from other places, entailing the expense of their Railway fare; and there we should have this item of expense provided from the Provincial Exchequer. !.
The problem of the preventive and curative treatment of diseases–epidemic, endemic or idiopathic–amongst the widely spread out immigrants, is indeed a profound perplexity. Reliable medicinal preparations, which used to come from over-seas countries, are not available today either for love or money; the indigenous preparations which emulate them are neither prolific nor their prices within the reach of all. A moderately equipped dispensary to serve the area of each Union Board must come up to an aggregate amount which will stagger the Public Health Department Ones head reels to buy today even a phial of Quinine which is a physicians ground, air, and naval armament for carrying on his rural practice. And there is an insidious peril in a sudden and unusually heavy requisition of medicinal preparations. In the eagerness to lift off their shoulder the load of demand and elude sharp reminders for early execution, the quantity would be fulfiled with dubious quality, staging repetition of the vaccine-scandal of the Calcutta Corporation, a tragic episode which could not have escaped the memory of the Honble Minister so soon. A still more formidable perplexity is the drafting of physicians in sufficient numbers to the urban and rural areas. Here again the question of expense is an outstanding obstacle. The experience so far gained by the Government in the matter of recruiting medical officers for military purposes is far from being encouraging. Offer of palmy salaries and handsome allowances and compensations failed to secure the expected volume of response from the invited quarters, whatever be the reason or plea. With the resources at their disposal the municipalities and Union Boards cannot be expected to spend more than a subsidy of Rs. 25/- per month plus Rs. 5/- by way of bicycle allowance for each a physician; and a monthly supply of medicine for the area under each physician should not exceed approximately Rs. 20/-. Thus, medical units of Rs. 50/- each per month may be set up, and the whole countryside may be studded with such units which will work with positive economy and efficiency that would baffle the imagination of any official medical organization founded upon needless and avoidable show and paraphernalia. Need we explain to the Honble Mr. Basu that our project is the implementing of the Homoeopathic system of medicine?.
The earnest money which was stipulated before the Government would deign to think of Homoeopathy, has been deposited; after three years of elbowing, yawning and napping a Faculty was framed and gazetted, but it still remains interred within the pages of the Gazette, and the Ministry have not yet condescended to exhume it and give it a life. Yet, at this time of national crisis it is the only thing that can stand by the nation and also absolve the Government of a vital responsibility. The implementing of the Faculty entails no financial liability on the Government. A hand- some amount of money by way of Registration fees is assured in the first working year. In the Homoeopathic Herald of May 1939 we worked out and published figures of the non-recurring and recurring income and expenditure of the Faculty and General Council, showing an approximate saving of Rs. 6500/- per year under the recurring heads, and a saving of Rs. 12000/- under the non-recurring (Capital) heads, besides the earnest money already in the hands of the Government. Well, if it is therefore not the question of money that stands in the way of the Ministrys implementing the Faculty at once, what else could there be to block the path?.
It is said that gangs of goblins habitually disturb the works of a devotee in his toils of spiritual advancement. It may not be improbable that the Honble Mr. Santosh Kumar Basus office is systematically being disturbed by elves and goblins against the attainment of the Homoeopathic Faculty. We are how- ever fully confident that it is not within the power of any gang of goblins to obsess the Honble Mr. Basu. His first and foremost thought goes to the good of the people and not to the appeasement of any interested species.