Announced 3 yrs back, H1N1 lab yet to be made functional in GMCH Jammu

Rs one cr escalation in project cost due to delay
Govind Sharma
JAMMU, Sept 18: The dilly-dallying approach on the part of all the concerned authorities particularly Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation Limited in establishment of H1N1 lab in Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu has led to increase in the cost of the project by more than Rs one crore. Moreover, nobody in the Government is in a position to specify time-frame for the completion of the project, which was announced by the State Cabinet over three years back.
In the year 2014-15, Swine Flu outbreak proved deadly in J&K as more than a dozen people died of this disease and half of the casualties were from Jammu province. Moreover, around 500 people had tested positive for H1N1 virus in the State. As there was no facility for proper and timely diagnosis of people suffering from Swine Flu in Jammu, the need was felt to establish dedicated H1N1 lab in this part of the State as Kashmir valley was already having this facility.
Accordingly, the State Cabinet in its meeting on March 3, 2015 accorded sanction to the establishment of two H1N1 testing facilities in the State, one at GMCH Jammu and other at Chest Disease Hospital, Srinagar under GMCH Srinagar in shortest possible time.
On the very next day, the Planning & Development Department released Rs 6.30 crore to Health & Medical Education Department for setting up an independent H1N1 testing facility at GMC Jammu and another Rs 5.63 crore for establishing H1N1 testing facility at Chest Disease Hospital, Srinagar.
“Though both the labs were announced simultaneously, the H1N1 lab in Chest Disease Hospital Srinagar was made functional about two years back while at GMC Jammu, only civil and mechanical work of the lab including construction of isolated rooms has been completed and no headway has been made on all other vital aspects including procurement of equipment”, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
“Though detailed specification for the installation of H1 N1 lab and procurement of machinery, equipment and consumables had been furnished to Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation (JKMSC) well in time but even after the lapse of considerable period of time and repeated tendering, the Corporation has failed to select any firm for the installation of the lab”, sources further revealed.
After prolonged delay on its part, the Corporation few months back dashed a communication to the Principal, GMC Jammu asking for completion of Part-I (installation) of the lab on their own following which the authorities of GMCH Jammu after taking suggestions from NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) New Delhi, contacted many vendors, and selected Bio Safe Lab India Private Limited, which has installed the lab in GMCH Srinagar, for the purpose.
Finally, a proposal was submitted last month to the Administrative Department, recommending the name of the vendor for seeking permission and about three-four days ago, the Administrative Department gave approval for the same.
In the proposal submitted to the Administrative Department, the hospital authorities had also projected the demand for allotment of additional funds of over Rs one crore on account of cost escalation due to delay in completion of project but no additional funds have been earmarked so far.
“However, the JKMSCL has yet not placed orders for procurement of the requisite machinery, equipment and consumables for the lab despite being aware of the fact that this is a time consuming exercise”, the sources said, adding as the winter season is all set to begin, it seems that suspected H1N1 patients from Jammu will have to suffer like previous year when they were made to wait for 10-15 days for their diagnostic reports by the Microbiology Department of GMCH Jammu as authorities will take at least five-six months to make the H1 N1 lab functional.
When contacted, Principal, GMCH Jammu, Dr Sunanda Raina, said that project got delayed as Corporation failed to install the lab, adding the Corporation invited bids three times for installation of the lab but got no response.
“Now, with the consent of the Corporation and approval from the Administrative Department, we have taken up the work of installation of the lab in our hand and selected a vendor namely Bio Safe India Limited for the purpose”, she said and hoped that within few months the lab will be ready.
On procurement of machinery, equipments and consumables, Dr Sunanda said that as communicated by the Managing Director of JKMSCL, all the machinery, equipments and consumables have been finalized. She said as soon as the work on the lab completes, they will place an order for purchase of these items.
When asked about escalation of cost of the project, she said that the cost increased due to delay on the part of the Corporation. “Had it completed the process of installation of lab and procurement of machinery and equipment two years back, the cost would not have escalated”, she added.


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