Govt to take up construction of SKIMS Maternity Hospital as languishing project

11-year delay results in 400 percent increase in construction cost
Govt to take up construction of SKIMS Maternity Hospital as languishing project

In a bid to improve delivery of services at  maternity wing of SKIMS Soura, the long pending construction of the 100-bedded new building would be taken up by Government as a languishing project.

The construction of new block of the Trust Hospital was started in 2007-08. However, 11 years on, the hospital is yet to be completed. During these years, the project cost has escalated from Rs 15.8 crore to Rs 60 crore, an official at the Institute said.

He said the 400 percent increase in estimated cost was the basic reason for the project to hit the "dead end" and for the past eight years, hardly any construction had taken place.

In 2017, the then Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, during the 42nd Governing body meet of the Institute had ordered that the project be taken back from JKPCC, the executing agency, and taken up by engineering department of the Institute.

However, a SKIMS official said that work could not progress as no additional funds had been transferred and the existing amount of Rs 15.8 crore had exhausted. "Only Rs 10 lakh was available of that amount," the official said.

Now, almost two years later, the project is expected toprogress with the prospect of funding through languishing project scheme,director SKIMS Prof Omar Javed Shah said. "The State government last weekagreed in principle to fund the project as a languishing project and that is ahuge development for us," he said. He added that the Institute had alreadysubmitted the requisite documents sought by JK Infrastructure DevelopmentFinance Corporation (JKIDFC) and a "positive decision" was awaited.

He acknowledged that the delay in making the new blockfunctional was dealing a blow to maternity services. "We are hopeful that thephase 1 of the project will be thrown open by the end of this year," he said.The second phase, total completion of the hospital, will be completed by 2020as per the revised timelines of the Institute.

The 100-bedded maternity hospital of SKIMS was announced to augment the maternity services of the tertiary care Institute and provide super-specialty services to high risk expecting mothers, right in the vicinity. Currently, the existing building can house only 20 beds.

The lack of services and facilities in this dilapidated, old building, a local said, was putting the patients through "untold miseries".  Moreover, he said, despite having the provision at SKIMS, most patients were forced to seek treatment at the over-burdened Lal Ded Maternity hospital of Government Medical College Srinagar.

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