The government-owned North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) on Thursday denied issuing any advisory to stop non-vegetarian food items in the hospital.
The denial came a day after Meghalaya's opposition Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) wrote to Union Health and Family Welfare Minister J.P. Nadda condemning the alleged act and urging Nadda to direct the institute authorities to restore sale of non-vegetarian food at the food outlets in NEIGRIHMS.
"Neither the director nor any other officer of the institute has ever directed the contractors of the canteen to stop serving any kind of food," NEIGRIHMS Spokesperson Dr. K.K. Pandita said.
Pandita also said that in the coffee shop at the Outdoor Patients Department of the hospital, packed food -- both vegetarian and non-vegetarian -- were being served.
He said pre-packed food items, including chicken momos, chicken noodles and chicken rolls, were available in the coffee shop all the time.
The opposition HSPDP also found a list of food items including non-vegetarian items displayed at the coffee shop inside the hospital and the list had been duly approved by the Director on May 26, 2017.
HSPDP leader Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, however, said sale of non-vegetarian food at the super specialty hospital had been stopped since D.M. Thappa joined as Director of the medical institute.
"The public had approached us (HSPDP) and vented their anger. We have sent our investigation team and found some truth in it. This is wrong on the part of the Director of NEIGRIHMS," Basaiawmoit noted in the letter to Nadda.
"This is an attack on the food habits of the indigenous people of northeast and has not been taken in good taste," the HSPDP legislator wrote.
But Pandita said in view of the cooked meat items getting spoiled in short time, canteens had been advised to keep the fresh items available for the patients and attendants who visit the hospital.
"...in hospital kitchen, eggs are being served to the admitted patients twice a day depending on the advice of their treating doctor. Therefore, there is no question of any advisory from the authorities of the institute to stop non-vegetarian food items in the hospital as these items are necessary as protein-rich diets for the patients," Pandita said.
The NEIGRIHMS has been designed on the lines of the premier All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, and Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) in Chandigarh.
The hospital was built at an estimated cost of Rs 420 crore and has a 30-bed Intensive Care Unit and 35 specialty and super specialty departments.
Former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had declared NEIGRIHMS a national institute on January 22, 2000, when he visited Shillong.
Source: daijiworld.com (IANS)