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Patients in Sylhet in the  grip of clinics,

 money hungry  physicians

S A Shofiee , Sylhet

Commission agents of physicians and clinics have long been dominating the premises of the Sylhet M A G Osmani  Medical College Hospital, causing severe difficulties to the patients and their attendants.

Sources in the hospital said, assistants and agents of the doctors and clinics receive a huge amount of money from the patients and their attendants, referring them to certain clinics and pathological laboratories for various medical tests, prescribed unnecessarily.

\The agents take positions at any place of private-run hospitals, bus stands, railway stations and many other places to grab the patients and take them to their respective clinics or private chamber of some physicians.The patients and their attendants, coming from different rural and farflung  areas, become confused as the agents, on behalf of their clinics and physicians, say that their clinics and physicians are much better than others.

The first hurdle a patient has to cross outside the chambers of most physicians at Sylhet M A G Osmani  Medical College Hospital are the agents who offer to fix appointments with the specialists – of course for a cut.There have even been cases in which patients were not admitted to private clinics, run by some physicians, because the patients did not come through the agents, while the regular patients burn a hole in their pockets paying the middlemen.

Several dozens of these agents staying at the main gate and other entrances to Sylhet M.A.G Osmani Medical College Hospital.At the sight of patients, the agents surround them and ‘advise’ them against getting admitted to the hospital since healthcare isn’t a priority for the physicians there.There after, the agents ‘suggest’ many clinics with top-of-the-line facilities and 24-hour presence of specialist physicians and nurses at a ‘reasonable cost’,

sources at several government hospitals said.Since most patients, or their family members and attendants, are ignorant about medical details, the pressure tactic acts in many cases and the patients often approach the private clinics in desperation, relatives of many victimised patients confirmed.

Sources said many physicians of Sylhet M.A.G Osmani Medical College Hospital and other government hospitals in Sylhet carry out private practice at clinics, and authorities at these clinics appoint the agents to get patients for a commission.But sources said once a patient is admitted to a clinic or visits a doctor, the clinic authorities or the doctor takes away the agent’s card to hide their association with the agent, as also to pay the agent his/her commission.

A woman agent can be seen sitting outside a doctor’s chamber at SOMCH near the outdoor patient’s ward.Any patient approaching the woman will be told that the doctor is busy but the patient can consult him at his private chamber.The woman was caught by the police on several occasions but to no avail she can still be seen carrying out the same business outside the same doctor’s chamber.

According to sources in the hospital, the woman is paid a commission of Tk 50 per patient. Some rickshaw-pullers are also working in Sylhet city as a commission agent of physicians.A rickshaw puller, residing at Khalik Colony in the city, told that he was working in favour of a well-known gynecologist having a chamber at Shajalal Medicare in the city. ‘While a female patient with his or her guardians get down from a bus or trains,

I reach to them and persuade them to go to Shajalal Medicare,’ he said.

Tariful Islam, from Kamal bazar in Dakshin Surma with his ailing wife Afroza Khatun, told That they had decided to go Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital but the rickshaw-puller, carrying them, influenced them to go a private clinic.

When Contacted Director of Sylhet M.A.G Osmani Medical College Hospital Brig.Genl Abdus sabur Miah did not give further details.

Sylhet Nursing College shut for post-quake cracks

Sylhet Correspondent

Sylhet Nursing College has been closed for seven days with all examinations postponed as cracks have developed in the building of its female hostel following the earthquake that jolted the country on Wednesday.

College Principal Shilpi Chakraborty announced the closure on Saturday night.

She also said the examinations will be held later under special arrangements.

Earlier, panic gripped the residents of the college hostel as they felt a shake again during a storm on Saturday morning.

Around 375 inmates were shifted to the classrooms of the college.

President of Students Welfare Association Hasna Alam Omi said a team from Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital visited the hostel building on Wednesday night to examine the cracks.

Later in the afternoon, Deputy Commissioner Joynal Abedin during a visit asked the authorities to close the college.

Earlier, on April 13, over 120 people were injured while scurrying for safety in various parts of Bangladesh, while a number of buildings were reported to have tilted in Chittagong, Feni and Sylhet after a powerful earthquake jolted the country.

Lighting strike kills farmer in Sunamganj

A farmer was killed by a lightning strike at Halidakanda village in Dharmapasha upazila of Sunamganj district on Sunday.

The deceased was identified as Sher Ali, son of late Khalil Miah of the village, according to a news agency report.

Police and witnesses said a streak of thunderbolt struck Sher Ali at about 10:00 am when he was cutting paddy at a haor near his house, leaving him dead on the spot.

Officer-in-charge of Dharmapasha Police Station Golam Kibria confirmed the incident.

Fenchuganj Upazila chairman suspended

 A upazila parishad chairman in Sylhet district has been suspended as he was charge-sheeted in a violence case. The accused is Saifullah Al Hossain , chairman of Fenchuganj Upazila Parishad, and ameer of Fenchuganj upazila unit of Jamaat.

Deputy Commissioner Joynal Abedin said he received a letter from the ministry concerned in this connection on Tuesday afternoon. A Sylhet court recently accepted the charge sheet of the case.

Later, the Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Ministry suspended him.

4 held over BCL clash

Police arrested four activists of Bangladesh Chhatra League (BCL) in connection with a clash between its two groups, over taking seats at a reception for Finance Minister Abul Mal Abdul Muhit, in Rikabibazar area of the city on Saturday.

The arrestees were Himel Das, 19, Shourav Tarafdar, 20, Rahi Chowdhury and Mohammad Ali Riyad, 24, activists of the Kashmir Group.

Sylhet district and city Awami League units arranged the reception for the finance minister for his receiving ‘Independence Award’ at Kazi Nazrul Auditorium in the city on Saturday afternoon, said Fayaz Uddin Foyez, sub-inspector of Kotwali Police Station.

The two BCL groups– ‘Darshandeuri Group’ and ‘Kashmir group’– locked into an altercation over taking seats at the programme.

Earlier, police recovered 23 meat cleavers and seven iron rods from a CNG-run auto-rickshaw beside the auditorium around 3:30pm.

After the programme, the two groups locked into a fierce clash.

A chase and counter-chase also took place in the area.

Later police arrested four activists of the Kashmir Group along with meat cleavers from the spot.

Sujel Talukder, an activist of the Telihaor Group, was also stabbed in the clash.

The injured were admitted to Sylhet MAG Osmani Medical College Hospital.

BRTA realises Tk 289.95m revenue in nine months

Bangladesh Road Transport Authority (BRTA) earned Tk 289.95 million (without vat) in the 9 months of the current fiscal in government revenue from different transport related fees and tax, official sources informed. In the last fiscal (2014-2015), it was Tk 281.5 million. The amounts were earned in fees for vehicle’s fitness, registration, transfer of ownership, driving licence etc.

Assistant director of BRTA, Sylhet circle Enayet Hossain Montu said the revenue earning would be much more this fiscal than the last year as already the last year’s figure has exceeded in the 9 months, he added.

There are 77,882 registered vehicles in the Sylhet circle. It includes, 44,050 motorbikes, 1789 cars, 299 jeeps, 1047 microbus, 2282 human hauler (Leguna), 94 ambulance, 58 pick-up, 2387 mini truck, 711 truck, 66 buses, 907 minibuses, 91 tank lorries, 814 auto tempos and 21,234 CNG-run  auto rickshaws.

Meanwhile, a number of vehicle owners have demanded issuance of fitness certificate locally to avoid sufferings in collecting it from a different office. Most of the people buy cars, microbuses and other vehicles from the capital although they use those in their own districts. In such cases, for getting fitness certificate one has to go to Dhaka BRTA office, which causes much for him as well as raising pressure on the official there. With digitalisation of the documents in all the BRTA offices, it is now very much possible to issue the certificate locally since the inspection officials are there in all the offices. But, BRTA does not allow issuing fitness certificate from any office once a vehicle is registered somewhere else, an official informed.

A number of victims have demanded the government to take a positive decision in this regard as soon as possible.

Lamp makers making good income out

of severe load-shedding 

Lamp makers making good income out of severe load-shedding in Business gets brighter now for lamp makers in Sylhet City  as kerosene lamp sales have increased manifolds in the area. With demand for lamps so high this year, the workers are racing against time to deliver orders. With prosperity in business, the workers are earning much more than in previous years. The reason behind their high sales figure is acute load shedding in the area. With electricity outages so frequent, these businesses are supplying lamps in not only Sylhet but also neighbouring districts. At least 30 families in Tuker bazaar under Sadar upazila engaged themselves during this season in lamp making.

Pots and cans of different shapes, like the mosquito repellent spray (aerosol) cans and condensed milk tins are used to make these lamps. These pots are collected from Dhaka at low prices. Lamp makers say they need a few more raw materials to make the lamps-sulpher acid, coal, lead, and borax.

An average family makes over 150-200 lamps a day, while larger families make about 300-400 a day. They incur a cost of Tk 6.7 to make a small lamp, which they sell for Tk 20-Tk 25, while the larger ones cost Tk 10-Tk 15 and sell for Tk 25-Tk 30. The larger lamps are mostly used in fish markets when electricity is out. About 30 poor housewives and 15 female students make lamps in their free time and add to the earnings of the household. The trade has in many ways brought about positive changes in the area as female students can purchase school supplies with the extra money they earn, thus making them able to contribute to their education.

. Wholesale lamp trader Nurul Islam of Bondor Bazar in the Sylhet city told this correspondent the lamps made here are of good quality. He comes about three times a week and purchases 2,000 to 2,500 lamps to sell in different markets in Sylhet,Sunamgong .He bags good profits as he sells a small lamp at Tk 15-Tk 20 and the larger ones for Tk 25-Tk 30.




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