Suhail A Shah
Anantnag: The construction on a new In-Patient Department (IPD) extension at Pulwama District Hospital has been going on for more than six years now, with no immediate completion of the block, or an end to the hospital’s space crunch, in sight.
The 100-bed extension to the hospital’s existing 60-bed IPD would have been a major relief to the patients thronging the hospital from different parts of Pulwama district and the two adjoining ones, Shopian and Budgam.
Work was started on the project in 2012, soon after it was sanctioned. It was handed over to the Jammu and Kashmir Housing Board Corporation (JKHBC).
The estimated cost for the project had been set at Rs 28.16 crore.
“The guidelines demand the project should have been completed by 2015 or at the most 2016. But it’s 2018, and the block is nowhere near completion,” a senior official in the hospital administration told Kashmir Reader.
He said that the Housing Board officials have been expressing helplessness in the wake of the project’s lack of funds.
“Only yesterday, I asked an official, and he assured me the block will be completed in just six months, provided funds flow properly – which looks like a bleak possibility as of now,” the official said.
The hospital is already overburdened, being the comparatively better facility among the three districts, Pulwama, Shopian and Budgam.
Scores of patients from the adjoining Shopian and Budgam districts come to the hospital for treatment, but are many a time referred to Srinagar or other places due to the want of space at the hospital.
“What can we do? Our IPD remains overbooked and we are forced to refer further patients,” a doctor at the hospital told Kashmir Reader. Moreover, the two districts, Pulwama and Shopian, remain volatile. During Cordon and Search Operations or protests, the hospital has a huge inflow of injured people.
“It’s not that we cannot handle the patients. But the question is where to keep them,” the doctor said, adding that the new block was supposed to have had two operation theatres, which would greatly have eased.
Housing Board officials acknowledged that the funds on the project have been trickling.
“Yes the project had to be completed in three to four years, but we faced scarcity of funds,” the Deputy General Manager (DGM) of the Housing Board for Pulwama, Sajad Kawoosa, told Kashmir Reader.
“We are trying our best to hand the hospital over to the authorities next year or so,” Kawoosa said.