While the Centre has made plans to set up 10 new AIIMS, construction delays have almost doubled the cost of the six AIIMS announced by the NDA in 2003.
In 2009, each institute was sanctioned for Rs. 847 crore. Delays and inflation over five years has taken the construction cost of each AIIMS to Rs. 1,500 crore.
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan came down hard on officials for missing deadlines repeatedly. “There’s little point in announcing new projects without meeting existing deadlines,” said Vardhan, who announced the 10 new AIIMS within a fortnight of taking charge.
“Dr Vardhan wants these projects to be completed before we seek funds for the 10 new AIIMS. So the four project controllers have been asked to show cause… they can be black-listed if they don’t furnish us valid reasons,” a senior official told HT. Sources said the controllers were issued notices two weeks ago.
The six AIIMS are coming up in Bhopal, Bhubaneshwar, Patna, Jodhpur, Raipur and Rishikesh. Vardhan is now reviewing progress of all projects.
“Yesterday, I visited AIIMS Bhopal and grilled them on the progress made. Bhopal has a functioning OPD but patients are still not being admitted for treatment. I’ve asked them to have the hospital fully functioning by Atalji’s birthday (December 25),” Vardhan told HT.
“All six are at different levels of functionality and development. The minister is visiting each – he’s planning to visit Patna on Saturday – to evaluate for himself and set individual deadlines, if needed,” health secretary Lov Verma told HT.
Currently all six have running OPDs and, barring Bhopal, are admitting patients. When completed, each institute will be able to accommodate 950 patients while training 100 doctors and 60 nurses every year.
At current costs the 10 new AIIMS will costs the government at least Rs. 16,000 crore.
The Centre is also planning to start recruitment of the 24,000 trained professionals required to give quality tertiary health care in the six institutes.