Tussle over relocation of electric pole stalls construction work of SDH Bijbehara

Suhail Bhat
Srinagar, July 16: A tussle between the Power Development Department (PDD) and the Health Department over the relocation of an electricity pole has stalled the construction work of new building at Sub-district Hospital Bijbehara in South Kashmir’s Anantnag district.
The construction work was suspended after PDD refused to move the electricity pole that came in the middle of the construction area and sought a compensation of over Rs 11 lakhs for the purpose. The Health Department, however, alleged that the department was cashing out the opportunity to make money.
Medical Superintendent of the SDH, Showkat Ahmad said that they have raised the issue with the different departments but failed to reach a settlement. “We have raised the issue with the Deputy Commissioner. The electricity pole is in the center of the new building. It will only take Rs 500 to move the pole, but they demand Rs 10 lakhs,” he said, adding that the building is unsafe but they cannot let people suffer.
A PDD official, however, claimed that they needed to relocate the whole electricity line and not a single pole. “It is not a single pole but includes two LT and one HT pole. The relocation would require two transformers because of the overhead bridge. We have also proposed a separate transformer for the second story,” he said.
He added that four months have passed but they have not received money for the purpose. “On the request of CMO Anantnag, we prepared an estimate. We handed over the estimate to the department. The shifting of LT and HT line requires money,” he said.
He said that the poles that are in the construction area could be relocated in a day and requires less money but to electrify the hospital needs money. “We will shift it tomorrow if money is released. The construction would not get affected. Shifting would require two poles and 400-meter wire but later we will need more money for electrifying the hospital,” he said.
The existing building suffered damages in the devastating floods of 2014. Soon a safety audit declared the building unsafe and proposal for the new building was given a green signal. As per the audit report, the inner walls of some blocks in the ground floor showed cracks in the superstructure. ” The flooring has also sunken and one story building with GGI sheet roofing, located within the premises of the main old building has deviated around 6-7 inch from ground to the first floor,” the report said.
The residents said despite an adverse report, the Government has not repaired the building. “Cracks have appeared on the walls of some blocks on the ground floor. At the inpatient, ward flooring has sunken. The damaged building is putting the lives of both patients and staff at risk,” Saqib Rasheed, a resident said.