Srinagar, Feb 10: The State Government and Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC) Limited today traded charges over upgradation of Jawahar Lal Nehru Memorial Hospital (JLNM) Rainawari here with Minister of State (MoS) Health Asiya Naqash accusing Corporation of executing ‘sub-standard works’.
In view of the importance of the JLNM Hospital Rainawari and heavy rush of patients, the erstwhile National Conference-Congress coalition Government approved the upgradation of the hospital, also called phase II project. In the phase II, the Government proposed to construct maternity, pediatric, orthopaedic and emergency blocks on the available land inside Hospital premises. The canteen block and two-storey car parking were also proposed at the site.
However, the work on the project so far has not been started. JKPCC General Manager, Vekar Mustafa told Excelsior that they cannot start the work as Government’s Health and Family Education Department owes them Rs. 2.8 crore of previous construction work of the Hospital. “They have not paid us for previous works. How can we start work on new blocks? We have been reminding them of the previous liability but all in vain,” he said.
According to the JKPCC General Manager, the new work was allotted to them in 2014 but the liabilities date back to year 2007. “The new work is worth Rs 25 crore. It includes construction of wards, In Patient Department (IPD), operation theatres etc,” he said and expressed dismay over Health Department’s ‘approach’.
However, Minister of State (MoS), Health and Medical Education, Asiea Naqash, lashed out at the JKPCC for alleged sub-standard works. She also feigned ignorance about the allotment of work of JLNM phase II to JKPCC. “We don’t owe anything to the JKPCC. There is no liability and we have not allotted any work to JKPCC,” she said.
The MoS further went on to say: “The works of JKPCC are sub-standard. Even they have left work on first segment incomplete. They are habitual offenders of sub-standard works. They executed sub-standard work at Lal Ded Hospital and also at JLNM where ground floor witnesses waterlogging.” The Minister, however, said that they submitted the proposal of phase II to Union Government for requisition of funds worth Rs 28 crore. “We are hopeful that it will be sanctioned soon and then we will decide about executing agency,” she said.
Sources said that if Government upgrades the JLNM Hospital, it will cater to needs of vast population and reduce referrals to Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) Hospital and Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura during night hours. “Usually, in case of emergency, the patients are referred to SMHS and SKIMS in night hours but if upgraded it will be beneficial in every way and would save lives but the controversy between the JKPCC and Government is only adding to peoples’ miseries,” they added.
The JLNM Hospital is one of the oldest hospitals of Kashmir located in Rainawari area of downtown city here, where hundreds of patients visit everyday from old city neighbourhoods and their outskirts. The importance of the JLNM Hospital can be gauged from the fact that 480 minimal surgeries were performed last year there while recently the doctors at JLNM successfully performed a complex onco-surgery on a 60-year male patient.