Conceived as a dream project, super-specialty hospital at Dr Rajendra Prasad Medical College, Tanda, which the government claims would offer the state-of-the-art healthcare services to the people of lower Himachal, was thrown open for public without even basic facilities available there.
The `150 -crore project was inaugurated by union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad through video-conferencing from Mandi as bad weather grounded the chopper flight to Kangra in which he has to arrive along with chief minister Virbhadra Singh for inauguration. State transport minister GS Bali unveiled the inauguration stone on behalf of Azad.
Though the government claims that the hospital is partially functional as specialist doctors in three departments have joined services, the way hospital was inaugurated in haste has drawn criticism from not only the Opposition party but general public too.
A quick round of the hospital building revealed that not even single equipment has been installed in the hospital while the construction work is also incomplete.
Apart from the first floor that was decorated for the inauguration function, the paint work and electric wiring work on three floors is yet underway.
When asked about the time it would take to make the hospital functional, additional chief secretary (health) Vineet Chaudhary claimed the Out Patient Departments (OPDs) would be started within three months.
"Besides, it will take at least nine months to purchase and install the necessary equipment to make the hospital fully functional," said Chaudhary adding that PGI which has been made the mentoring institute of hospital would monitor the process while HLL Lifecare Limited has been awarded the work of purchase and instalation of equipment.
"The highly sophisticated equipment required are not available off the shelf and is to be imported," said Chaudhary. He said the process would take time. However, sources told that the equipment is generally delivered in nine or ten months after the placement of order which is a lengthy process.
"The hospital was thrown open without giving a second thought on the lack of infrastructure and the proper facilities. It needs proper staff, including doctors, nursing orderlies, security staff and sweepers is one aspect while laboratories and blood bank is another basic component needed for the smooth functioning," said an official on the condition of anonymity.
"Here nothing is in sight apart from a building. It would take at least one-and-a-half-year to create all the facilities if the process not hits the hurdle," he said.
Meanwhile, criticising the government for inaugurating the hospital in haste, former BJP minister Ravinder Singh Ravi alleged that it was being done to gain political mileage as the Lok Sabha polls were near.
"What is the point in inaugurating an empty, incomplete project? This is being done all over the country. Entire union cabinet and Congress- led state government is busy in inaugurating incomplete projects," alleged Ravi.