'Political tussle' takes a toll on construction of child care hospital | punjab | Hindustan Times
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'Political tussle' takes a toll on construction of child care hospital

punjab Updated: Aug 23, 2015 23:38 IST
Ketan Gupta
Ketan Gupta
Hindustan Times

The construction of the much talked about super specialty mother and child care hospital in Patiala is yet to see the light of the day. (HT Photo)

The construction of the much talked about super specialty mother and child care hospital is yet to see the light of the day, as the controversial project seems to have fallen prey to political vendetta.

The new affidavit filed by health and family welfare department principal secretary Vinni Mahajan in Punjab and Haryana high court on March 15, 2015, says the hospital would be completed and made functional by January 16, 2016. The affidavit states that the company with which the state government has made an agreement would complete the work in the designated time period.

However, going by the progress of the work, it seems impossible to complete the construction of the hospital by January next.

The construction of this super-specialty hospital was given a nod by the then Congress government in 2005 and its foundation stone was laid by the then chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh on December 25, 2005. An amount of `7.66 crore was also sanctioned for the hospital.

The village panchayat also donated three acres land for the hospital. The work was started in June 2006 and around `2.5 crore was spent for the same. However, soon after the SAD-BJP government took over, the hospital's construction work stopped and the building was handed over to the Punjab Infrastructure Development Board (PIDB).

Later, the then health minister Laxmi Kanta Chawla managed to get the approval of state cabinet for the auction of hospital on the excuse that the hospital's location was not appropriate, despite the fact that the hospital was going to be benefit more than 150 villages of the region.

After the work was stopped, the residents of Peerjain sent a letter to the Chief Justice of Punjab and Haryana high court and Punjab governor, demanding the completion of the hospital for which they had even donated three acres of land. They also added that the land should be returned if the government did not want to construct the hospital.

Thereafter, Congress legislative member Kuljeet Singh Nagra filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in 2012 against the decision of the government to auction the hospital, following which a notice was issued to the state government and directions were given to complete the hospital.

The government representatives said the high court that the tenders have been called and the formalities would be completed by October 2012 and, thereafter, the work would get complete within a year.

However, when the government failed to keep its promise to complete the hospital within a year, Nagra filed a petition in 2014, saying that SAD-BJP was making false promises to the people and the court as well.

Following this, the high court asked the government to give clarification. The state government filed an affidavit, saying that the current contractor of the hospital was not working and now his contract had been cancelled. The affidavit also stated that on August 27, 2014, new tenders were called and a tender was given to a contractor on November 11, 2014. The government also informed that the contractor had submitted all his related documents and an engineer was appointed for the project on November 18, 2014.

Meanwhile, Nagra said the SAD-BJP government was still creating problems in the construction of the project. He said not even a security guard has been appointed for the same. "The place for hospital now has become popular amongst drug addicts and lovers," said Nagra.

Nagra said the next date for hearing in the high court is November 28 and they would raise a question that if the state government could spend lakhs on CM Parkash Singh Badal's security, then why couldn't they spend money on public welfare.

Meanwhile, senior citizen Rajinder Singh, a local resident of Peerjain, said the government was just making a fool of the local people.