After years of wait, BSL-3 Lab at GMC Jammu almost ready to put to use

*Will be operational in next 40 days

Govind Sharma

JAMMU, Apr 14: The half a decade of wait for completion of work on Bio Safety Level (BSL)-3 Lab in Government Medical College (GMC) Jammu is finally coming to end as this high-tech lab is now almost ready to be put to use and soon it will be handed over to the GMC administration by the construction company after the final stage of testing by its engineers.

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As per official sources, the BSL-3 labs, one each for Kashmir and Jammu regions were announced by the J&K Government in the year 2015 after the outbreak of Swine Flu in the erstwhile State so that such pandemics can be tackled effectively in the future. Accordingly, sources said, funds to the tune of Rs 343.16 lakh were released for the Lab at GMC Jammu and a similar amount for the Lab to be established in CD Hospital Srinagar.
They said while both the labs were announced simultaneously, the Lab in Chest Disease Hospital Srinagar was made functional in the year 2018 on fast track basis but the work on the Lab at GMC Jammu could not be taken up for four years and finally in the year 2019, the task of installation of the Lab was allotted to Biosafe India Limited.
“The company started the work soon after the allotment but first it left the work midway due to non-payment of dues and then due to outbreak of COVID-19 and resultant lockdown,” they said, adding, even after the COVID-19 pandemic was over, the work on the lab remained lingering on for different reasons such as absence of a dedicated power supply line, DG Set and RO Water Plant, which were not included in the DPR made earlier.
Accordingly, sources said, the requisite DPRS along with the estimated cost were submitted by the concerned Engineering wings and the issue was taken up with the Administrative Department for sanction of funds. After the sanctioning of funds and administrative approval in favour of Chief Engineer, Mechanical Engineering Department Jammu, all these pending works were completed last year but due to no-payment 3rd installment of Rs 27 lakh, the Biosafe India Limited were reluctant to give it final touch.
“However, about few days back, the payment of Rs 27 lakh as 3rd installment was made to the Company and the engineers of the company are now giving final touch to the Laboratory,” sources revealed. They claimed that by the mid of next month, the laboratory will be handed over to the GMC administration for commencement of its operation.
When contacted, Principal & Dean, GMC Jammu, Dr Ashutosh Gupta also confirmed that all the machinery and laboratory equipment of the BSL3 lab have been installed and the lab is at the final stage of testing and commencement of operation and will be operational by May 2024″.
Pertinent to mention here that a BSL-3 lab is designed to be easily decontaminated and is typically used in clinical, teaching, research and diagnostic purposes. Such labs may work with microbes that are either indigenous or exotic, and can cause serious or potentially lethal disease through inhalation. These labs have a total control of their internal environment and most advanced electro-mechanical systems installed in them ensure that the inside air and effluent from inside lab is release to outside only after decontamination.