AIIMS Bathinda construction to be further hit as 50% labourers go home
Lockdown had already delayed work; IPD and emergency buildings will thus not be completed by the original deadline of November this yearUpdated: May 21, 2020 22:41 IST
With nearly 50% (800) of 1,600 migrant workers involved in the construction of Indoor Patient Departments (IPDs), residential and teaching blocks at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bathinda, going back to their native states, the opening of these facilities may be indefinitely delayed.
Originally, these services were to start from November this year.
Officials say there is only half of the usual workforce at the construction site on the Dabwali Road these days, with the labourers returning to Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh. A visit to the site on Thursday showed work was on, but at a slow pace.
A senior functionary of the private firm undertaking the work said construction had been pushed back by at least six months, as several other migrant workers had announced that they would go back.
“The district administration has given strict instructions that those wanting to leave for their native places will not be asked to stay back. Due to the pandemic, skilled workers from other states are not keen to join work. We have no option than to wait and watch till the pandemic eases,” said the official, who is not authorised to speak to the media.
“Due to the lockdown, supply of fly ash, an important construction ingredient, produced from coal-based thermal power generation plants had dropped significantly,” said another official of the construction firm.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone of the AIIMS project on November 25, 2016 and classes for the first batch of MBSS started from August 26 last year at the institute’s temporary campus in Faridkot-based Guru Gobind Singh Medical College, which is under Baba Farid University of Health Sciences. Outpatient department (OPD) services were started on December 23.
Medical superintendent Dr Satish Gupta, who is also the dean, expressed his reservations on whether all healthcare services, including IPD, trauma and emergency services can commence from November this year.
“We are reviewing arrangements to see if MBBS classes for the forthcoming batch can be started from September onwards at the Bathinda campus. Student hostel is almost complete and classes may be started, as a temporary measure, from the OPD block. We are assessing the situation,” said Gupta.
On Thursday, another group of about 30 workers were ready to go to UP on a special bus. Radhey Sharma from UP’s Maharajganj and Vikas from Girdih in Jharkhand said their jobs were safe and contractors provided them with dry ration during the lockdown.
“We wish to be with our families and we would like to resume work in Bathinda when the pandemic crisis is over,” said another worker Aryan.
Deputy commissioner B Srinivasan said besides special trains to Bihar and Jharkhand, 4-5 buses with workers from AIIMS sites had left for Bihar and West Bengal. He added there had been no complaint of non-payment of wages at AIIMS sites.