Anantnag: About 14 years ago, residents of Vessu village in Anantnag donated land for a primary health centre (PHC). Six years later, Jammu and Kashmir Project Construction Corporation (JKPCC) completed the construction of the buildings. However, the PHC still runs from a tin shed and couple of rooms meant for the residence of doctors.
The JKPCC alleges that the state health department has failed, repeatedly, to release funds they owe to the construction corporation, a pre-requisite for taking possession of the buildings. The health department refutes these allegations, saying that JKPCC has left the building incomplete.
Since its sanction in 2003, the villagers say they contributed in whichever way possible to ensure the completion of the construction, even donated a part of the land, and have now given up hope.
“It was with the intent that we will get better health care,” said a villager about the help they extended for the construction of the PHC. “Besides, the PHC is located next to the national highway where accidents are rampant. We thought this PHC will serve us as well as the trauma patients on the highway.”
But 14 years down the line, the OPD of the health centre runs from a tin shed and the rest of it have been cramped into a two-room accommodation meant for the doctors.
“This is the height of apathy on behalf of the health department. Despite our repeated requests no heed has been paid to resolve the issue,” said a member of the village Auqaf committee. It was the committee that facilitated the acquisition of land for the PHC.
The committee members say that an X-Ray machine was donated for the PHC by an NGO. Also, an electric transformer was issued for the centre.
“We don’t even know where that X-Ray machine is right now. The transformer is rotting in the courtyard,” a resident alleged.
Deputy General Manager (DGM) of the JKPCC for Kulgam district, Shabir Ahmad, told Kashmir Reader that the building was completed in early 2010, after which the health department was sent regular updates and requests to take the building over.
“They owe us over Rs 40 lakh and the buildings can be handed over only after clearance of dues, which has not been done,” the DGM said.
He said that the buildings need only finishing touches like electrification, water supply and sanitation, but the health department has shown no intent to take it over.
“In 2014-15, they requested us to hand over the main building. We did the necessary pending work on it. Unfortunately, there has been no headway from their side since,” the DGM said.
Director Health department, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, said that payments in full have been made to the JKPCC. “The concerned CMO has written to the directorate and we have raised the issue with the government. They (JKPCC) have not completed the work on the project despite repeated reminders. We have asked government to take action,” Rehman told Kashmir Reader.