Shimla: Himachal High Court has directed the State Government to periodically get all the inmates of Leprosy Home at Phagli, Shimla, medically examined and provide them medication at the State’s expense.

The Court also directed the State not to charge any amount towards rent, electricity and water from the inmates of Leprosy Home, as the State being a Welfare State is under an obligation to provide such services to those inflicted with such disease.

The Court further directed the State to inform whether the inmates of Leprosy Home have any job to do and what other facilities are being provided to them.

A Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Mohammad Rafiq and Justice Jyotsna Rewal Dua passed these orders on a petition filed by one Neeraj Shashwat alleging the lack of basic amenities and pathetic condition of a dilapidated building at Phagli, Shimla for Leprosy patients. 

He has alleged that the matter was taken up with the various authorities but none of them has shown any interest to improve the condition of these deprived people. 

The High Court earlier on 7 March directed the Secretary (Social Justice and Empowerment), Director (Health), Deputy Commissioner Shimla and District Welfare Officer, District Shimla, to appear personally before the Court to explain as to why compliance of the orders regarding the inspection of the Leprosy Home situated at Leprosy Colony, Phagli, Shimla and its necessary repair work was not made.  

The Deputy Commissioner, Shimla, filed an affidavit and tendered an apology for not being able to comply with earlier directions.

He placed on record the report of an inspection carried out by him on 7 March, which is an eye-opener and revealed that 18 sets in five blocks of the building are in dire need of repair and renovation as the wall is broken in which cracks have appeared, water pipes are leaking, sewer system is totally damaged and toilet pipes are also in bad condition.

The inspection report further revealed that the roof is leaking in the rainy season, electric fitting and repair work is very much required, sheds have been constructed above the colony which exhales dirty water into the colony through the gutter, there is no boundary wall and erection of the same is necessary.

It has been also pointed out in the inspection report that installation of CCTV Cameras and deployment of a security guard is also very much needed as the residents informed miscreants hover around during the night.

The Court was informed that an amount of Rs.47,85,200 has been sanctioned, which now stands deposited with the Public Works Department. The tender notice for the aforesaid repair work has been issued and the work shall be completed within 55 days.

During the course of the hearing, the Counsel for the petitioner informed that the building in question was constructed only about 10 years ago through the Public Works Department, but presently the condition of the building is as bad as if it were constructed several decades ago.

The Senior Additional Advocate General appearing for the respondents submitted that the State would find out as to who was the contractor at that time and shall ensure that appropriate action is taken against him.

The matter has been posted for April 25.

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