250-bed hospital at PGI: A litany of missed deadlines, burgeoning cost
Six years after the work was approved by the ministry of health and family welfare, the construction of 250-bed hospital at the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is nowhere near completion.
The construction is on a standstill since 2013, after former director, Dr YK Chawla, found 16 important services missing from the building plan. As a result, the cost of construction has increased from Rs 92.27 crore to Rs 170 crore.
For enhanced the budget clearance, the institute is eyeing the Standing Finance Committee, which is scheduled this month. The hospital is crucial as it will share the burden of Nehru building. It will have 80 private rooms and four departments – ENT, radiotherapy, hepatology and endocrinology – will be shifted to this building.
At the moment, there is acute shortage of private rooms in the PGIMER.
Causes of delay: Two mistakes by the institute
Two mistakes by the institute led to the delay. Firstly, assigning the construction without getting environment clearance, which wasted two years. Secondly, the authorities passed the building design without properly scrutinising it.
PGIMER entrusted the work to Central Public Works Department (CPWD). In 2011, CPWD awarded the work amounting to Rs 52.71 crores and the deadline set was 540 days (18 months).
Objection raised by the ministry of environment and forest
The work came to a halt after an objection was raised by the director, ministry of environment and forest.
“Ideally, CPWD officials should have taken the environment clearance before starting the work, but they did not do so. As a result an objection was raised by the ministry of environment and forest and it took PGIMER nearly 2 years to get the clearance,” said a senior officer from PGI.
“When environment clearance was given, it was with a rider that PGIMER will comply with the emergency conservation building code (ECBC), whereas in the work awarded by CPWD there was no such provision,” he said.
ECBC is a code pertaining to energy consumption in the building. “It means that throughout its life the building will consume 20% less energy,” said an officer.
But by the time the work could be restarted, there was another hurdle.
16 services missing from the plan
In 2013, a special committee was constituted by former PGI director, Dr YK Chawla, to monitor the execution of the work. The committee found 16 services, essential for efficient functioning of the hospital, missing from the plan.
“When I took over, the order was already given to CPWD. When checked, I found 16 required things missing from the design of the building. Had it been approved, we would have repented it,” Dr YK Chawla, former PGI director had said.
“We approached the ministry and had held several meetings for the revised budget approval. We have high hopes from the Standing Finance Committee meeting, scheduled in January. Most likely, they will approve the budget,” he said.
“If approved, the building will get ready by 2018. Yes, there is a delay, but once ready, it will have state-of-the-art facilities,” he said.
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