Paucity of funds stops work on 130-bed maternity hospital

Paucity of funds stops work  on 130-bed maternity hospital

The hospital, which has been under construction for the last more than six years, is nowhere near completion as the funds have altogether stopped.

The paucity of funds has hit the construction work of one of the city’s largest maternity hospitals to be built under the aegis of Sher-I-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) at an estimated cost of Rs 45 crore at Soura.

The hospital, which has been under construction for the last more than six years, is nowhere near completion as the funds have altogether stopped.

“We have completed most of the structural work, but now we don’t have any funds so the work has almost stopped,” said Dr Showkat Zargar, Director SKIMS.

The construction work was earlier delayed due to a court case filed by one of the contractors, claiming higher expenditure. “Last year SKIMS won the case after a lengthy battle but before the work could be re-started, financial crunch hit our State,” said Dr Zargar.

The entire structure is almost complete along with OPD and theatres. “We need money to start the crucial interior work,” he added. “If we get the remaining money, the hospital would be completed within 18 months. We have completed Detailed Project Report (DPR) of this hospital.” Till date around Rs 15 crores have been spent on the construction and Rs 30 crores are still pending.

Once completed, the hospital would be crucial in handling the rush of women patients from Ganderbal, Srinagar, Bandipora and other districts. “After floods our work has increased manifold and our old 40-bed hospital is unable to cope up with the rush,” said Dr Zargar. “We were forced to stretch the hospital into one of our Sarais (dormitories).”

Post delivery, the hospital sends the women to the dormitory at Nowshera end of SKIMS.

The old maternity hospital of SKIMS is in dire condition as patients and attendants complain of lack of facilities. “Hundreds of dogs roam outside and inside, one can often see cats lurking dangerously near the beds of newborns,” said Rafiq Ahmad from Ganderbal who was attending to one of his relatives at the hospital. 

“Despite the fact that Ultra Sonography (USG) is important for expecting mothers, here the USG facility is limited to few hours. One has to take pains to carry the expectant woman to private clinics or main SKIMS for the test.”

The dirty washrooms and non-availability of proper shed for attendants are other complains. “They don’t have proper stretchers or movable beds on which we could transport the post-surgery woman to the dormitory,” said Dilshada, who was accompanying her niece.

Women clutching their newly stitched abdomens while walking from labour room through corridor and stairs to the waiting ambulance is a common sight at the hospital.

The officials attributed the problems to heavy rush and claimed that everything would be set in order once the new hospital is commissioned.