ESIC Hospital at Budgam


I f the foundation stone for construction of a 100 bed hospital under the provisions of the Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Act 1948 was laid in December 2020 at SIDCO Industrial Complex Ompora in Budgam Kashmir ,the question as to why work on it has not yet started must not remain unanswered. Union Ministry of Labour and Employment has implementation of the provisions of this Act meant for the overall welfare, security and protection of the health related issues of the industrial workers, on its priority and expects all states and Union Territories to ensure the same. It may be recalled that the said Act encompasses to address eventualities that the workers are generally exposed to comprising sickness, maternity and ”employment injury” . Not only to the workers specific and their dependents would stand vastly benefitted from the proposed hospital but the entire area with thousands of people would also be benefitted from this hospital which means lessening of the load and pressure of patients otherwise from this area on the GMC Hospital in Srinagar . The scheme under the said Act has due eligibility criteria in respect of the monthly wages/salary of the workers ranging between Rs.20 to 25 thousand which , therefore, means that workers with very moderate means who otherwise cannot afford ever rising medical and healthcare costs and expenses, can get treatment and ancillary health related facilities from this special type of hospital to be equipped with modern healthcare facilities and all major departments like OPD, ICU, disaster management facilities including an independent sub-station . In such type of hospitals , among other facilities on modern lines, specialist Doctors numbering over 23 are proposed to be posted to take care of the employees and their dependents in health related matters . The charges for and expenses of treatment and availing of all other healthcare facilities in this hospital are borne by the ESIC System which means that the workers are not to pay anything from their pockets. We learn that the total cost of the project of construction of the hospital being around Rs.160 crore may lead to upward cost revision in case any further delay is caused . A total number of over 600 factories are otherwise slated to be covered under the ESIC Act meaning thousands of workers and their families will be greatly benefitted from this hospital once it started functioning. The requisite land measuring 40 kanals having been already purchased by SIDCO and leased out for the construction of this hospital means half of the ”work done” . Having said all that, we feel the formalities of e- tendering and other prerequisites could have been since completed in order to have the process of construction started but making no use of over one year has not only resulted in the proposed hospital not coming up but ipso-facto, a denial of availing of benefits by the industrial workers that, they otherwise are entitled to under the ESIC Act. However, the proposed project being handled by the CPWD and the work having been granted to the contractors , possibilities of its early starting appear to be bright as otherwise already confirmed by the officials of the Corporation. We, therefore, trust the aim of reaping benefits under the ESIC Act by the moderate and even disadvantaged persons of the society will be soon fulfilled which warrant the pace of work on the project to gain the required momentum once it starte