Superficial measures being taken to mend cracked slabs
ANANTNAG: Authorities are putting lives of hundreds of people, most of them women and children, at risk by taking some superficial measures to mend the highly unsafe buildings of Maternity and Children Hospital (MCH), here in Anantnag, instead of relocating it.
The relocation has been stalled for years now, despite having options to do so, only to serve interests of a handful of people-with political connections and chemist shops in the vicinity of the hospital.
These days the Roads and Buildings Department in Anantnag have sub-let the work of erecting pillars beneath cracking slabs to SICOP, for one of the buildings of the MCH in Sherbagh area of Anantnag.
“The irony is that the building houses Pediatric ward, the immunization centre for the children and the incubators for the newborn. That essentially means if a mishap takes place it will be mostly children that will bear the brunt,” a source in the hospital told Kashmir Reader.
Sources in the R&B told Kashmir Reader that their engineers, in their reports, have declared the buildings unsafe, “in capital letters,”
“We have made it clear to the authorities that the erection of pillars is a completely superficial measure and does not make the buildings safe,” sources in the R&B told Kashmir Reader.
The authorities however have been hell bent on unwisely spending public money-more than 25 Lac Rupees this time around-on buildings that are to be shunned sooner or later.
“Leave alone the money part. They are putting precious lives in danger. We have told them that to their face,” sources in the R&B said. The buildings have been declared unsafe by the Fire and Emergency Services department-after a devastating fire-some years back.
The hospital was not shifted for many years with authorities citing lack of proper space as a reason.
But for more than three years now they are looking the other way round, even though there is space available to shift the hospital and at that a better, spacious place.
In early 2015 the new PDP-BJP government, headed by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, ordered that the hospital be shifted to the premises of District hospital in Janglat Mandi area, where the hospital was shifted to a new building leaving the old one vacant.
“A few chemists in the vicinity of MCH in Sherbagh however ganged up and stalled the shifting process,” sources said.
Sources said that the chemists and some other shopkeepers pressurized the authorities-with their political connections-so much that some machinery already shifted to Janglat Mandi was brought back to the Sherbagh buildings.
Following this, last year, it was proposed that the MCH will be shifted to under construction Rehmat-e-Alam hospital in Sarnal area, on the outskirts of the town.
The hospital, being constructed under a trust, was being constructed since 1988 with no end in sight before the government took it over last year.
“It, however, will take a few more years to get completed,” sources said.
Till then the authorities seem to have decided that they will put lives at risk, only to succumb to the whims of some politically connected people.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Anantnag, Dr Fazil Kochak, said no one has given them in writing the building is unsafe.
“We have no written communication from anywhere that the building was unsafe,” Kochak said, “It will nevertheless be shifted to Rehmant-e-Alam hospital in near future,”
He did not explain though the need to erect pillars beneath a concrete slab.
Director Health, Dr Saleem-ur-Rehman, was busy and asked the reporter to call later.