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Year-end deadline set for 250-bed hospital at PGI

The 250-bedded hospital will have 80 private rooms, and wards of four departments – ENT, radiotherapy, hepatology and endocrinology – will be shifted to its building. 

punjab Updated: Jun 28, 2017 16:03 IST
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Tanbir Dhaliwal
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
Union health secretary and other officials inspecting the 250-bedded hospital coming up near Gate No. 2 at the PGIMER in Chandigarh on Tuesday.(HT photo)

Taking a strict note of delay in completion of a 250-bedded hospital, approved in 2010, at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Union health secretary CK Mishra on Tuesday ordered the executing agency to finish the project by year-end.

The Central Public Works Department (CPWD) is constructing the hospital near Gate No. 2 (opposite Sector 11) of the premier institute.

Even as the project cost has nearly doubled as it has missed several deadlines in the past seven years, when the Union health secretary asked for the projected deadline during a meeting at the PGI, a hospital official said: “By 2018.”

Mishra replied that he wanted the hospital to be ready this year.

“Why are you taking so long?” said the health secretary. “Quickly sort out the problems that are leading to regular delays. Get the project ready by December.”

The hospital is crucial as it will help share the burden of the Nehru building. The 250-bedded hospital will have 80 private rooms, and wards of four departments – ENT, radiotherapy, hepatology and endocrinology – will be shifted to its building.

At the moment, there is an acute shortage of private rooms in the PGIMER.

Multiple hurdles

The Union ministry of health and family welfare approved the project in 2010 and allotted it to the CPWD.

The following year, the executing agency contracted out works amounting to Rs 52.7 crore and set a deadline of 18 months.

The work, however, was stopped in 2013.

“There were two main reasons for the work to stop. The CPWD failed to take environmental clearance. An objection was raised by the Union ministry of environment and forest. Also, the then PGI director, Dr YK Chawla, found 16 services essential for efficient functioning of the hospital missing from the building plan,” said a PGI official.

The essential services included medical gas pipeline system, additional elevators, connectivity with power substation, mechanical ventilation, hot water supply, modular operation theatre (OT), rainwater harvesting, furniture, control access system for OTs, digital public announcement system, CCTV cameras and emergency lighting.

The environment clearance came after another two years. By then the cost of construction had escalated from Rs 92.3 crore to Rs 180 crore.

The additional grant was approved by the health ministry in January 2017.

“It has been five months since we handed over the grant to the CPWD, but no construction work has taken place,” said a senior PGIMER administrative official.

At last, the PGIMER had to approach the Union health secretary to take up the delay in construction work.

“The health secretary approached the CPWD director general, and told him to get the work completed by December,” he said.

‘It’s joint responsibility’

One of the CPWD chief engineers dealing with the project said: “The requirement for 16 additional services was given in December 2013 and the amount (Rs 70 crore) was sanctioned in January 2017.”

He said it was a joint responsibility of the CPWD and PGIMER to take the environment clearance.

“The PGIMER had never taken an environment clearance before constructing a building. This was the first time when a project was stopped due to it,” he said.

When asked why the work has not started despite getting the grant, he said: “A few services sought by the PGIMER are too rare. Only three to four hospitals across India have it. So it is taking some time to arrange the facilities.”

First Published: Jun 28, 2017 16:02 IST