AIIMS like hospital in Kashmir: Construction going on at snail’s pace
Srinagar, Jan 11: Despite earmarking the land for an All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) like hospital at Awantipora, Pulwama, in November 2015, the government is yet to begin work on the project in full swing. The project, to be implemented by Government of India’s Central Public Works Department (CPWD), needs operational and ground assistance from the J&K Health and Medical Education Department (SH&MED) and the Divisional Commissioner (DC) Pulwama. In May 2016, the centre had given a green signal to the authorities to go ahead with the project falling under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY). However since then, only plenty of ‘progress review meetings’ the project has witnessed, along with instances of authorities visiting the site to examine the movement. As per the timeline of the project, ‘status checks’ have been the most held activity at the site, the latest one being the December 2017 review progress by the Chief Secretary B B Vyas. In September 2017, Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, had visited the site and had released a total of Rs 91 crore for the start of project out of the decided Rs 2,000 crores to set up the AIIMS. However, as per the official documents accessed by The Kashmir Monitor, as of November 2017, Rs 90.84 crore from the promised amount released to the state government was unutilised. Although, as per Minister of State for SH&MED, Asiya Naqash, “The work at the site is going on and the progress will speed up once the department hands of the construction to CPWD”. Naqash was “unaware” of any deadline set for the project. “I actually don’t know how much time it will take; it depends on the pace of the work. A few basic things that the department needs to do before handing over the site to CPWD include building boundary walls, arranging power supply, and setting up tube-wells. The work is going on,” Naqash said. The official documents also revealed that the armed forces firing range at the site was yet to be vacated. The fate of the private property in the area too is to be decided. As per Deputy Commissioner Pulwama, Ghulam Ahmed Dar, however, both the hurdles have been removed. “The fire ranges have been shifted, and the private property too has been acquired,” he told The Kashmir Monitor. “Of 1,700 kanal land, we have handed over about 1,400 to the SH&MED.” He also assured that everything is “clear” from their end, and the project’s progress depended upon the work of CPWD. As per the details, AIIMS Awantipora would have 1,000 beds, which will include 300 super-specialty beds. It will also have a Medical College with intake capacity of 100 students, flanked by a Nursing College with annual capacity of 60 students.