The Bihar government has moved the Centre for fresh approval to nine trauma centres it had proposed for central funding under the 11th Five -Year Plan (2007-12).
Having failed to complete them within the given time frame, the state government has now also suggested changes in locations of a few of these trauma centres, from the ones that were identified earlier.
Among the trauma centres proposed to be moved is one at the Katihar district hospital in northeast Bihar, to the district hospital in neighbouring Araria. Also proposed are moving one at the district hospital in Gopalganj, in north Bihar, to the community health centre, Sidhwalia, in the same district; and tone at the subdivisional hospital at Jhanjharpur, in Madhubani district of north Bihar, to the primary health centre in Araia Sangram, within the district.
“We moved the request some five months back, primarily due to land constraint at locations proposed earlier. The locations we have proposed now, provide much easy accessibility from national highways. We are awaiting the Centre’s approval,” said Shashi Bhushan Kumar, executive director of the State Health Society (SHS), Bihar. The SHS has been tasked with driving the project.
The idea to set up trauma centres was to minimise casualties due to road traffic accidents. The SHS did not have any official statistics on the number of casualties reported along national highways due to road traffic accidents. However, Purnia civil surgeon, Dr MM Wasim, said that at least 300-400 persons, on an average, died every month due to accidents on national highways (NHs) 31, 57 and 107 which pass through the district.
Gopalganj civil surgeon Dr MP Sharma said 150-200 deaths took place due to accidents on NHs 28 and 85, which pass through the district. Both these districts had been identified for setting up trauma centres.
Bihar has only itself to blame for non-implementation of the Centre’s proposal. For, it could not identify land at Kishanganj, Gopalganj and Jhanjharpur and hand them over to the Telecommunications Consultants India Ltd (TCIL), the executing agency.
In Madhepura and Darbhanga districts, the agency could not commence work at the proposed sites because the government kept shifting its stand on location.
The little progress it could make was in Gaya and Rohtas, where building construction work was done only till the lintel level, while at Muzaffarpur and Purnia, work could not progress beyond piling.
TCIL project director, Patna, Anjani Kumar said, “We could commence work only at four of the nine proposed sites for trauma centres because the government failed to identify land and give us. It also kept changing the location within the district from time to time.”
“While we submitted the detailed project report (DPR) within two months of signing the MoU, the Bihar government took 12 months to approve it,” he said.
Kumar said the TCIL had submitted a bill of Rs 3.01 crore last October as consultation fee for preparation of DPR and some civil work, which it had done, but the bills were pending.
The Bihar government has since terminated the contract and handed over work to the Bihar Medical Services Infrastructure Corporation Limited, a government entity, even as it awaits Centre’s approval.
The TCIL had initially submitted a DPR of Rs 36.69 crore, which it revised to Rs 58,02 crore after floating tenders for purchase of equipment. The Centre, which was firm that any escalation in project cost was to be met by the state government, did not approve the revised DPR, even as it had released advance fund of Rs 6.45 crore to Bihar in 2009-10.