AIIMS Kashmir nowhere in sight

Civil works, academics fail to progress; Officials blame pandemic
AIIMS Kashmir nowhere in sight
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For the second year in a row, the construction work on AIIMS Kashmir and the identification of temporary campus fail to make progress, putting a question mark on the start of its MBBS course.

In February this year, J&K Government sought approval from union Health Ministry for the temporary accommodation identified in Srinagar as campus of MBBS course in AIIMS Kashmir for the upcoming academic session. A team from AIIMS Rishikesh, the mentoring Institute for AIIMS Kashmir was expected to arrive and carry out an inspection of the identified locations and approve the same as a makeshift arrangement for the first batch of 50 students. However, for months, no team visit has taken place, the UT Government still awaiting the team and response from GoI, a senior official said. The delay, he said, has put a question mark on the possibility of intake of the first batch from the upcoming session.

On the other hand, the civil works at the site in Awantipora have also stopped for nearly two years now. The official, well versed with the project said, a brief construction period was seen in 2020 but was soon stopped by executing agency CPWD. Earlier this year, Minister of State Health and Family Welfare Ashwini Kumar Choubey had said that AIIMS Kashmir had seen 3 percent progress in civil works, four years after the site was approved. The deadline for the project is 2025. In comparison, AIIMS Jammu site had progressed 10 percent as per the statement issued in March, the work continuing currently as well as per the official reports. A senior official said the access four-lane road to the site has also not seen any development in the past one year although the Government had taken over the land required for expansion.

Dr Yashpal Sharma, nodal officer for new medical colleges in J&K said the delay in progress of work was due to the pandemic. "We expected the central AIIMS team to inspect the six probable sites but they could not come due to the pandemic," he said. He said the intake of the batch would depend on temporary campus approval. "Hopefully, when we have a better situation of COVID19, the academics will see progress," he said while adding that civil works were also expected to start "shortly".

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