Anantnag: When construction of the new 100-bedded building block of District Hospital Shopian commenced in 2010, two years after it was upgraded, the promise of better healthcare facilities had turned the residents of the south Kashmir district jubilant.
But seven years later, the people are still waiting to see the promise being fulfilled.
“It is surprising that even after about seven years, the hospital building is far from completion,” Advocate Habeel Iqbal, a resident of Shopian, told Kashmir Reader.
Iqbal, who heads Shopian Health Aid, a registered group working for better healthcare facilities in the district, cited the lack of political will as the reason for delay in the completion of the project.
“In our neighboring district Kulgam, the work on a hospital building was started the same year and the hospital was subsequently made operational the last year. But in our district, they are still struggling to complete the construction.”
Initially, the deadline for completion of the project was 2012, which was subsequently extended to 2014 after the first one was not met.
“Going by the slow pace of the work, it seems that it will take four to five years more for the project to complete,” an official of the Health department posted in the district said.
The executing agency, Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Company (JKPCC), however, attributes the delay to the paucity of funds.
“Out of the total project cost of Rs 23.65 crore, the government has so far released only Rs 10 crore. Till March 2015, only Rs 5 crore had been released and it was after our repeated representations that Rs 5 crore more were released in the last one year,” executive engineer JKPCC, Mohammad Hussain, told Kashmir Reader.
Despite the unavailability of the funds, the agency has almost completed “50 per cent of the work”, he said.
“There is no fault on our part. You can see the work done is still much more than the funds released so far. The Health department can takeover and use the first two floors, which are almost complete in every respect.”