Renovation work of Rahmat-e-Alam hospital incomplete

ESS AHMAD. Dated: 3/13/2019 11:57:13 PM

Slow pace of work on hospital angers locals, CMO says hospital will be shifted in four months

ANANTNAG, Mar 13: When the demand for shifting of maternity and child hospital (MCH) grew louder a couple of years ago the then chief minister, Mehbooba Mufti in February 2017 sanctioned the taking over of a trust run Rahmat-e-Alam hospital along with its assets and liabalities.
She also ordered the immediate renovation of the building and shifting of MCH to the same. Subsequently the government allotted the completion and renovation of the Rahmat-e-Alam building to the housing board which started the work on the same. However, more than two years have elapsed but the building seems to be nowhere near completion. With the result, the patients at the maternity hospital continue to suffer due to the space crunch. The delay in completion of the building which has led to delay in shifting of the hospital from old and unsafe building has triggered disappointment and anger among the locals.
"The executing agency had been asked to complete the renovation and additional construction of the building within one year but ironically over two years have passed they have not even finished the renovation part yet," complained a group of residents of Anantnag.
Going by the slow pace of work, they said, the hospital building does not appear to get completed in less than a year. "Half of the construction of the hospital building had already been done by the trust. One wonders why the executing agency has not been able to complete at least one block of the hospital despite the availability of funds," a local, Sajad Ahmad rued.
MCH, the lone maternity facility is located in the congested Sherbagh locality of Anantnag town. The decades old hospital building not only is short of space to accommodate the huge rush of patients from almost entire southern region but has also been declared unsafe by the fire and emergency services authorities in their safety audit report. The space crunch in the hospital is such that two patients could be seen lying on same bed. Authorities to handle the patient rush have also fixed the beds in hospital corridor. Due to the space crunch and non-availability of the beds most of the women in labor pains taken to hospital after 4 pm are simply referred to Lal Ded hospital Srinagar.
However, an official of the health department cited the allotment of contract for construction of the building to two agencies initially as the reason for the delay in completion of the same.
"Authorities had initially allotted contract to the housing board and few months later they allotted the same contract to JKPCC. The allotment of the work to two agencies led to confusion and tussle between them. In the confusion as to which agency will actually execute the project wasted several months before the allotment was finally given to JKPCC," said an official of the health department.
Chief Medical Officer, Anantnag, Dr Mukhtar Ahmad said the deputy commissioner has strictly directed the executing agency to speed up and finish the work on the project as soon as possible.
"We are very serious about it. We have asked them to complete atleast ground and 1st floor within three to four months so that we may be able to shift the maternity hospital and make it operational at the new location. They also have assured us to complete some blocks within four months. I am hopeful we will be shifting the hospital in coming months," CMO told Kashmir Times.



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