Telangana govt orders closure of 100-yr-old Osmania General Hospital, new building likely to come up
The Telangana government on Wednesday ordered closure of the century-old building of Osmania General Hospital that was inundated with rain and sewerage water last week, drawing a lot of criticism from opposition parties.
In a letter to the hospital superintendent, Telangana Director of Medical Education Dr K Ramesh Reddy asked him to vacate the building and shift the patients to other wards (in adjacent blocks).
The DME ordered that the old building should be closed and sealed after intimation to his office. He said no activity will be undertaken in the building hereafter. “Any deviation from the above instructions will be viewed seriously,” Reddy said in the letter.
President of Telangana Medical and Health Gazetted Officers’ Association Jupally Rajender said the process of shifting the patients and offices of the doctors in the OGH building had already commenced and it would be completed soon.
“The building is dilapidated and is crumbling. We can’t take the risk of continuing the hospital in it,” Rajender said.
In all, six wards and two operation theatres have been moved into new buildings in the same campus to prevent any untoward incident as the structure is crumbling. “The decision was taken to avert any accidents and in the best interest of patients,” in-charge superintendent of OGH Dr Pandu Naik said.
The decision of the government to close down the OGH has lent credence to the apprehensions that the Telangana government is planning to demolish the OGH building, which is a notified heritage structure.
Ever since heavy rains that lashed Hyderabad resulted in flooding of several wards in the hospital last week, there have been representations to the government from a section of doctors and some associations demanding that the old heritage structure be demolished to pave the way for a new multi-storeyed hospital complex.
The members of the Telangana State Government Doctors Association who formed a Joint Action Committee (JAC) have been staging a dharna in front of the hospital for the last two days demanding that the government construct a new building on the OGH campus.
The OGH is one of the oldest and largest hospitals in India constructed during the Nizam’s reign. While it started as the Afzal Gunj hospital in 1866 AD, the present hospital building was completed in 1919 on orders of the last Nizam of Hyderabad, Mir Osman Ali Khan. It was designed by British architect Vincent Jerome Esch and Nawab Khan Bahadur Mirza Akbar Baig in the Indo-Sarcenic style.
In 2015, Telangana chief minster K Chandrashekhar Rao announced a plan to demolish the building. This sparked outrage among heritage activists, and he immediately retracted the proposal.