Anantnag: In 2017, the then PDP-BJP government had taken over the trust-owned Rahmat-e-Alam hospital along with its assets and liabilities. The purpose of taking over the under construction hospital was to shift the Maternity and Child Hospital (MCH) from the unsafe and dilapidated building located in a congested Sherbagh locality.
However, four years have passed and the hospital remains far from completion.
Though GMC authorities blame the executing agency, JKPCC for delay in completion of the project but sources in the construction company hold government responsible for dragging the project.
The first reason that initially delayed the work on the hospital, they said, was the allotment of the project to two agencies. “The dispute between two agencies lasted for months till government resolved the issue and finalized the contract in favor of JKPCC only.”
The work on the project came to halt again only after few months of speedy work as the government failed to release the funds.
“The paucity of funds halted the work on the project for many months till the begging of 2019,” sources said.
Later, when funds for first phase of the project were released and the work on project was going on at the good pace, the government allowed CRPF to camp in the hospital building, halting the construction work again.
“In mid-2019 ahead of the Amarnath yatra, CRPF established a camp in the hospital with the permission of civil administration as a result of which work on the project came to a complete halt for atleast one year,” a source in the JKPCC said.
Despite many representations to the concerned DCs and top health authorities to shift the CRPF camp to some other place, nothing was done for nearly a year.
The CRPF vacated the hospital only last year after which the construction work on the hospital was restarted.
Now that funds for the project are available but the delay caused by the IIT Jammu in drawing the design for jacketing of the first floor columns has put the work on the hospital at halt again.
“Since the funds were released for project and CRPF vacated the building, we have almost completed the truss work of the building. But now we are awaiting design for jacketing of the columns that IIT Jammu in its audit report had recommended,” an official in JKPCC said.
General Manager JKPCC, Showkat Ahmad Dar said they are awaiting the design for last nine months.
“We don’t have any issue of the funds now. Truss work is almost finished. But we cannot start the internal finishing unless jacketing of the columns and vital beams is done. We cannot compromise with the safety of the building by skipping the jacketting of columns and go for internal finishing,” he said.
Dar said they have many a time written to IIT authorities for design and technical details but are yet to receive the response.
The delay in the completion of the hospital and subsequent shifting of MCH from the unsafe building located in Sherbagh has angered not only the doctors but the people as well who suffer in the absence of proper healthcare in the space starved building.
“You cannot expect improvement in healthcare at MCH unless it is shifted from the existing building. Though we have many facilities available but got no space to install the equipments. The delay in shifting the facility is also endangering the lives of patients as the building has already been declared unsafe with slab of the portion of it having crumbled already,” a doctor at MCH told Precious Kashmir.