Uncertainty prevails over start of work on Bone & Joint Hospital

Govind Sharma
JAMMU, Aug 22: Uncertainty is looming large over start of work on the lone Bone & Joint Hospital in Jammu as even after four months of laying foundation stone of the project no funds have been sanctioned by the Union Health Ministry.
Sources in the Health & Medical Education Department said that in the month of March this year the project was taken up by the then Health Minister, Bali Bhagat with the Government of India, which gave its verbal approval to the project to be taken under Prime Minister’s Development Package (PMDP) and asked the Minister to submit a Detailed Project Report (DPR).
Accordingly, on the directions of the Minister, a DPR was prepared by PWD and sent to Union Government for approval but without waiting for the approval of the Government of India, the Minister laid foundation stone of 240-bedded Bone & Joint Hospital on April 22 this year in the premises of Chest Diseases Hospital, Jammu in a hush-hush manner. While speaking on the occasion, he boasted of completing the project within a period of two years.
He had even stated that establishing of this hospital in Jammu would be a great relief to the people of Jammu as majority of the patients from Jammu division and critical accidental cases used to move to adjoining States or only Bone and Joint Hospital of the State in Srinagar which was established in 1972.
Shortly after laying foundation stone, the Minister took a review meeting of the project and constituted a committee comprising doctors from Orthopedics and Medicine Departments of Government Medical College (GMC), Jammu to look into the affairs of the project.
However, when Dr DK Manyal took over the charge of Health Ministry following reshuffle in the State Cabinet on April 30, he took two review meetings regarding the project in the month of May during which the site of the project was changed from Chest Diseases Hospital to GMC near the office of Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supplies Corporation and a fresh DPR was prepared by PWD which was later accepted by the Health & Medical Education Department.
But due to some bottlenecks including need to demolish huge infrastructure like building of Rehbar-e-Sehat office and CRPF posts & quarters, the project could not take off there as well and in the meanwhile, the coalition Government in the State collapsed.
Following this, Governor’s administration took stock of the project and decided to shift the project back to its previous place i.e. in the premises of CD Hospital where Bali Bhagat had laid foundation stone as it was felt that it is not feasible to take up the project near the office of Medical Supplies Corporation.
However, even after four months of laying foundation stone, the construction work on the project could not be started, sources said, adding though Union Government has now given its approval for the project but funds for the project are yet to be sanctioned.
When contacted, Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Dr Pawan Kotwal, said that the work on the hospital would be started soon as the executing agency has floated tenders for the project. “It is true that as of now funds for the project have not been sanctioned by the Government of India but to initiate the project we have sanctioned an amount of Rs one crore from Capex budget of GMC Jammu for the financial year 2018-19 and even released half of the amount”, he said.
However, sources said the tenders floated by the PWD have failed to get response from any agency within the stipulated time-frame and the department is in the process of issuing fresh tenders for the project.