After missing three consecutive deadlines in the past six years, the 500-bedded Pediatric hospital in Srinagar’s Bemina area is still awaiting its completion with officials citing a host of reasons including paucity of funds as main reason for the delay.
Earlier designated as Mother and Childcare Institute, the upcoming hospital was declared to be established as a full-fledged pediatric hospital with 500 bed capacity in 2019.
The work on the hospital which was proposed to be a 200-bedded maternity care facility initially was started in 2013 during National Conference (NC) regime. However, former Chief Minister, Late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on October 17, 2015, gave it an extension and laid the foundation stone for 500-bedded Mother-Child Hospital.
In 2019, the government accorded sanction to conversion of the 200-bedded Maternity Hospital and the 300 bedded Pediatric Hospital at Bemina, Srinagar into a full-fledged 500-bedded Children’s Hospital.
An official in the Roads and Buildings (R&B) department said till now three deadlines for its completion —one in 2014, second in 2017 and third in 2018—had been missed and yet there is no clarity as to when it will be ready.
Chief Engineer Roads and Buildings department Kashmir Sami Arif said: “Due to change in the plan there was delay in its completion. However the work is going on at the moment; currently the mechanical work is going on at the site and the civil works have been completed. We are hopeful that the project will be completed by the end of this year.”
Once the hospital becomes operational it will ease the burden on the main referral institution GB Pant Hospital which remains overcrowded and overburdened due to huge patient rush. It is aimed to provide relief to patients from north and central Kashmir. The September-2014 floods had caused damage to the under-construction building.
A senior health official informed that it is likely by the end of the year or early next year that the hospital shall be made operational.
“Central government has allocated Rs 63 crore to the Jammu and Kashmir government for augmenting healthcare infrastructure in the newly formed Union Territory which includes completion of construction of 500-bedded New Pediatric Hospital at Srinagar and other projects in the health sector. These funds have been released under Prime Minister Development package,” he said.
According to health department officials, Jammu and Kashmir is facing dearth in healthcare infrastructure as for a population of over 1.25 crore people in the Union Territory, there are just around 243 ventilators.