Flood Reconstruction Program |Rs 140 Cr for Kashmir hospitals unutilised for 3 years

Even after passing of three years the state health authorities have failed to utilise Rs 140 core funded by World Bank (WB) for reconstruction of health infrastructure damaged in 2014 floods in Kashmir.

“Not a single penny of the Rs 140 crore has been utilised so far,” a senior official confirmed to Greater Kashmir.

The devastating flood had caused extensive damage to buildings and equipment at Children Hospital, SMHS Hospital, Bone and Joint Hospital and maternity hospital Lal Ded.

As per the approved proposal a new building with modular operation theatres and wards was to be constructed at Bone and Joint Hospital while a separate building was to be build at Lal Ded Hospital, with modern multi-stage labour suites, advanced fertility center and library.

An official said some of the structures in these hospitals had been declared unsafe after they had developed cracks.

However, this unsafe infrastructure is still being used for patient services owing to absence of alternate space.

While Lal Ded and Bone and Joint Hospitals were covered under the WB program the work at SMHS Hospital had to be taken under state government assistance.

Last year, Roads and Buildings (R&B) department, after a fresh assessment, again declared all the building identified for reconstruction as “unsafe and dangerous if put to use”.

The official said the unnecessary delay taking up the projects has put question mark on whether the 2020 deadline would be met.

“Since not even the foundation work of these buildings has been taken up, the projects are going to take at least five more years,” the official said.

Principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Kaiser Ahmed acknowledged that there was an “inordinate delay” in started work on the projects.

He said the project executing agencies had been finalised “only recently” and they had a meeting with the agencies two days ago. “We are on track now,” he said.

The Principal blamed poor response to tenders and relocation of the site as the reason for the delay.

“Unfortunately, we had only one bidder for the projects in the past and as per laid down norms we could not have gone ahead,” he said.

He said the projects “should not take very long” as there was no issue of funding. “Once the work starts, the funds will be released,” he said.