Inordinate delay leaves poor patients in lurch; CMO says structure to be completed in next 4 months
By: Ahmad Shabir
Anantnag: Eighteen years after the authorities upgraded the Primary Health Center (PHC) Qaimoh as Sub-District Hospital (SDH) in Kulgam district and sanctioned a new building, the authorities here have miserably failed to complete the construction, thus leaving patients to lurch at large.
Sanctioned in 2003 by the then PDP-Congress government, the work on the construction of the SDH was started five years later in 2005. The estimated cost of the project was Rs 19 crore.
However, official sources said that the work on the project came to halt only a couple of years after it was started due to the paucity of funds.
“After being sanctioned, the hospital remained a non-starter for five years. Then it was the shortage of funds that halted the work on the project for several years,” said an official.
After the work on the hospital was re-started following the release of funds by the government, official sources said it was again halted in 2016. “From 2016, the hospital building was almost abandoned by the executing agency,” they said.
It was in late 2018 that the work on the hospital was resumed following the inclusion of the project into the Prime Minister’s Development fund scheme.
“Now that the funds for the project are available but due to the sluggish work it still drags on. Though the exterior work on the building is almost complete now but going by the slow pace of work on the interior it will almost take one more year to be functional,” said a Para-medic posted at PHC Qaimoh.
Due to the delay in the completion of the project, the entire population of Qaimoh and Khudwani townships and dozens of other villages are dependent on the PHC Qaimoh for healthcare needs.
“The sanction of the SDH was meant to improve the healthcare facilities in the area but we endlessly wait for the same to be completed. This is ironic that the building has been awaiting completion for nearly two decades,” said a local, Fayaz Ahmad.
Due to the poor health infrastructure at the PHC, people of the area, Ahmad said, are forced to travel long distances to seek treatment either at GMC Anantnag or district hospital Kulgam.
“Unless the new building for SDH is made functional, there is no possibility of improvement in healthcare in the area,” said another resident, Nazir Ahmad.
Precious Kashmir spoke to Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Kulgam, Dr Mohd Rafiq Dhobi who said that the work on the SDH is going on a war footing basis.
“Funds are now available for the building and work on the same is going on. The deadline for the completion of the project is February 2022. The hospital hopefully will be operational in the next three to four months,” CMO said.
He, however, refused to comment on why the hospital building could not be completed in eighteen years.