AAP alleges corruption in hospital, BJP hits back
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday alleged corruption in the construction of a hospital by the South Delhi Municipal Corporation (SDMC), a claim denied by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the civic bodies .
AAP’s chief spokesperson Saurabh Bharadwaj said an “extra payment” was made to the contractor by the civic authorities.
Addressing a press conference, Bharadwaj said SDMC had issued a tender of Rs 9.88 crore in 2010 to build the Poornima Sethi Super-Speciality Hospital in Kalkaji but later changed the terms and gave a contract of Rs 30.96 crore to the same contractor.
“This 100-bed hospital was supposed to become fully functional by 2012, but could not be built to date. SDMC did not impose a penalty against the contractor despite the delay in construction work. On the contrary, it paid the contractor over Rs 35 crore instead of the fixed cost of Rs 30.96 crore,” Bharadwaj alleged.
Bharadwaj said when AAP asked the civic body, it falsely claimed it had paid Rs 28.53 crore against the fixed amount of Rs 30.95 crore. He said that an internal audit report of SDMC indicated the civic body had paid more than Rs 35 crore. He said SDMC did not give any answer to the auditor when asked about the delay in construction.
Responding to the allegations, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said no extra payment had been made to contractor. “The work order cost was Rs 30.95 crore and the amount paid is little less than Rs 30 crore. The contractor is demanding additional Rs 2 crore and has gone to court. Had he been paid all the amount, why would he go to the court?” Kapoor asked.
Kapoor said the delay in the hospital’s operation was due to SDMC’s financial crunch, caused by the non-release of municipal funds by the Delhi government for several years.
He said Poornima Sethi Hospital was envisioned in 2005 with a cost approval of Rs 20.17 crore but due to financial crunch, a small work order of Rs 9.87 crore was issued in 2007.
“Later in 2010, additional floors and construction of service flats were added as visioned under MPD 2021 and the cost was revised to Rs 30.95 crore. The hospital work stands almost complete and is awaiting fire clearance from the Delhi government,” he said.
The BJP leader said the OPD is already working from the ground and first floors and a 50-bed Covid-19 isolation ward is completed and awaiting the Delhi government’s clearance.
He said a dialysis centre will start working on the second floor, followed by a maternity centre on the third floor.