The discovery of two snakes inside a toilet at the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Agashi, Virar (West) in Maharashtra, shocked medical staffers
The rescued snake. Pic/Hanif Patel
The discovery of two non-poisonous snakes inside a toilet at the Primary Healthcare Centre (PHC) in Agashi, Virar (West) in Maharashtra, shocked medical staffers who had gathered for a meeting on Thursday afternoon.
A panic-like situation erupted after a nurse heard a constant hissing sound originating from near a toilet. The next day, they again saw a snake slithering on the hospital premises, leaving the medical staff in a state of terror.
Nearly 40 medical staff members, who had gathered for a monthly meeting at the PHC, dispersed, and the meeting was delayed by nearly two hours.
On Friday, a medical staff member spotted a large snake slithering inside a pipe on the PHC premises, but it could not be caught by a snake rescuer.
The medical staffers, including doctors, nurses, and health assistants at the PHC, have been living in constant fear of snake bites, as the premises have not been kept clean by the Gram Panchayat.
“About 40 medical staffers had gathered for a meeting at the PHC on Thursday when a nurse heard a constant hissing sound while using the toilet. She got scared as the hissing sound continued to terrify her inside the toilet. She rushed out and informed us,” a medical staff member told mid-day.
“We have been dealing with snake bite cases almost every day in Agashi. It is really scary to work in this atmosphere as we conduct family planning operations and deliveries at this PHC. If snakes continue to come due to filthy grounds, we can't perform surgeries. We request the concerned department to provide us with a proper working atmosphere to treat the patients,” said a doctor.
“All the medical staff got scared after hearing the news. We had to delay the meeting called to plan for our monthly work,” a nurse said.
The panic-stricken medical staffers had to call a private snake catcher, Swarandeep Wankhede, and his team from Agashi.
“After more than an hour of struggle, two non-poisonous dhaman snakes were rescued. They were hiding on the parapet of the toilet,” said a medical staff member.
The snake catcher, Wankhede, said, “We rescued two snakes on Thursday from the PHC. We catch the snake and release it in a forested area. Earlier, we used to give them to the Fire and Forest Departments of the municipal corporation, but now they have stopped taking the snakes from us. So, we catch the snakes and release them in the forest area.”
“Every week our team catches nearly 10 snakes in Virar. We voluntarily help people by catching snakes found in their residential or office premises. We don’t charge anything from people,” said the 27-year-old Wankhede, who learned snake catching tricks from a rescuer.
Another medical staff member told mid-day that the area needs to be regularly cleaned by the Gram Panchayat, but the premises are lying in an absolute messy condition, and grass has grown in the field.
“There was a meeting of Zila Parishad officials with medical staff at the PHC. In the meeting, the Sarpanch has been told that all the medical staff members are living in constant fear of snake bites because every day we have been noticing snakes in the premises. We can't work like this if snake hissing sounds continue to terrorize our staff,” said a medical staff member.
When contacted, the Sarpanch of Agashi, Vijay Patil, said, “The area of this PHC is really huge, and there is a khaki on the back side. Also, the old quarters have been demolished, and debris needs to be cleaned. Just because of the monsoon, grass in the premises has grown long and needs to be trimmed.”
“I have also requested the municipal corporation to assist us in cleaning the premises. Hopefully, from Monday or Tuesday, the grass trimming procedure will start at the PHC. A few pipes, kept on the PHC premises, are meant for supplying water, and the project is underway,” Patil added.
Meanwhile, another snake created panic at a Vada Pav shop in Vasai. A local snake rescuer was called and rescued the snake from the shop. “It was a dhaman snake hidden inside the shop. It took us three hours to rescue the snake, and my business was hampered,” said Anil Gupta, the shop owner.