Raipur: Chhattisgarh government on Wednesday admitted in the state assembly that as many as 62 people were left blind in one eye after they underwent procedures at the cataract operation camps held for last two years in the state.

Of the 62 patients who lost sight in an eye, 44 were operated in the camps held in Balod district, four at a camp in Durg and 14 at a camp in Mahasamund district.

“Total of 44 people lost their vision in an eye after they underwent cataract operation in the camp held at community health centres of Balod on September 29 in 2011, four people in the camp at Durg district hospital on March 27-28, 2012 and 14 people in the camp held at community health centre in Bagbahra town of Mahasamund on December 9-10, 2012," health and family welfare minister Amar Agrawal said. He said this in a written reply to a question raised by Dharmjeet Singh of Congress in the assembly.

“Primary investigation in Balod case had stated that they (patients) caught infection due to lack of proper fumigation in the operation theatre," Agrawal said.

“In the Durg and Bagbahra incidents, negligence in following a standard protocol for cataract operation was found," he said. Even the medicines used in Bagbahara camp were sent for quality testing, he added.

Five doctors, including chief medical and health officer, Durg Dr. TK Agrawal, eye surgeons CS More, P. Joshi and A.K. Mishra and block medical officer Sashi Cladius were suspended on 18 October 2011 in connection with Balod incident, he said.

Investigation is underway in the Durg case and stringent action will be taken against those who will be found guilty after getting the probe report, he assured.

Besides, four other employees—staff nurses K. Shukla, Lalita Temre, ophthalmic assistant M.R. Sheikh and technician V. Deshmukh—were also suspended.

Replying to a separate question raised by Paresh Bagbahra of Congress, Agrawal informed the house that action was being taken against the chief medical and health officer of Mahasamund, eye surgeon of community health centre (CHC) Arang, ophthalmic assistants of Bagbahra CHC, ophthalmic assistant of Mahasamund district hospital, staff nurses of Bagbahra CHC and Basna CHC.