In a classic case of buying furniture before building the house, a robotic surgery unit worth Rs 20 crore has been lying unused at the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) ever since it was bought six months ago.
Reason: the site for installation would take another six months to be ready, according to sources in the engineering wing of the institute.
It was early this year that the institute administration floated tenders to procure the robotic surgery unit, meant for the urology department. The deal was struck at Rs 20 crore and the unit reached the institute premises around six months ago.
But the work to prepare the site for installation of the robot was started a month after the device reached the institute. The renovation work for the installation, for which 12 private rooms were dismantled in Nehru Hospital, is still on.
Work for the preparation of site is with the National Building Construction Corporation as a part of the overall renovation and modernisation of Nehru Hospital. Sources in the engineering also revealed that the main step was installation of a public health shaft, a prerequisite to rule out any seepage where the robotic surgery centre is to come up.
The hurry to procure the robot before preparing the site has now raised questions on the PGIMER administration's decision. "How one can purchase such expensive equipment when the site is not still ready? The technology gets outdated very fast these days, so why not buy the latest gadgets after preparing basic infrastructure," said a professor from a surgical branch, who wished not be named.
Manju Wadwalkar, spokesperson of the PGIMER, merely said the work "is in progress" and the institute was trying hard to start surgeries at the earliest.
Precision in cuts and other sensitive parts of surgery was one of the primary reasons why the robotic unit was procured.