Anantnag: South Kashmir’s only Maternity and Child Care Hospital (MCCH) continues to run from a hard-to-approach, unsafe and cramped building, seven years after the government took the first steps to shift the hospital.
The MCCH in Sherbagh area of Anantnag is a mishap in the waiting, with authorities in complete know-how of how unsafe and cramped the building is. Taking cognizance in 2015, the government decided to shift it and took over a private trust’s proposed hospital building for the purpose.
“The coalition government of PDP-BJP led by Mufti Muhammad Sayeed took the decision and the earmarked around 12 Crore Rupees for the new building to be developed into a full-fledged hospital,” sources in the health department told Kashmir Reader.
It was the Rehmat-e-Alam Trust’s building in Sarnal area of the Anantnag district that was taken over for this purpose. The building was handed over to Jammu and Kashmir Projects Construction Corporation (JKPCC), but work could not be commenced till around 2016.
“The work was finally started but funds remained scarce on the project,” the sources said. “Besides, the hospital was briefly taken over by forces, soon after the work was commenced. They continued to occupy it till early 2020.”
Despite these issues, the executing agency did get ample time to complete the hospital, but things still remain unchanged. The MCCH continues to run at an unsafe place, where beds need to be shared by patients – such is the space crunch.
Attempts in past to shift MCCH have been stalled by a handful of shopkeepers operating around the present location. “The hospital was once shifted to the old building of the district hospital in Janglat Mandi, but these shopkeepers ensured that it was shifted back to the unsafe building in Sherbagh,” the sources said.
Also, the road leading to the hospital is a mess and congested to the last bit. An ambulance approaching the hospital is a nightmare for the patient as well as the helpless onlookers.
Principal of the Government Medical College (GMC) Anantnag, Dr Tariq Qureshi, acknowledged that the present facility of the MCCH was short of space and located in a really congested area.
“The work at Rehmat-e-Alam is going on. Some additions, keeping in view the latest innovations, are being made and it might take around four to five months for its completion,” Qureshi said.
He added that the hospital will be definitely shifted and the plan has not been shelved.
Meanwhile, sources in the administration told Kashmir Reader that the Rehmat-e-Alam building might be taken over by paramilitary forces yet again, ahead of the Amarnath Yatra of 2022.