GUWAHATI: Will the project of ESIC Model Hospital located at Beltola in Guwahati see the light of the day? The only ESIC model hospital of the Northeast now looks like a cubbyhole where patients lying without beds are more than those on beds.
Originally the project was meant for upgrading the 50-bed Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Model Hospital to a 100-bed one. Strange as it may sound, it’s a fact that laying the foundation of the project on October 6, 2017 the then Union Labour and Employment Minister (Independent) Santosh Kumar Gangwar made an announcement that the hospital would be a 200-bed one. However, since laying the foundation stone, no work of the project is seen at the site. The renovation and upgrading project is to be done without hampering the existing services of the 50-bed hospital.
According to ESIC officials, the project has been handed over to the CPWD (Central Public Work Department). For everything related to the project, including its present status, the ESIC passes the buck to the CPWD.
This reporter had to meet an engineer of the CPWD to get the clear picture of the project. According to the engineer, the project is for a 200-bed hospital (ground+5-storey building) in a 15-bigha plot with an estimated cost of Rs 164.73 crore.
When asked on the reason behind the delay in the project, the engineer said, “We signed an MoU with ESIC for the construction of the project on August 18, 2018. We did submit the DPR (Detailed Project Report) of the project in February in 2019. However, that DPR was rejected. We’ve submitted a fresh DPR on September 11, 2019. We’ll start the construction work only after the project approval committee of the ESIC approves our DPR.”
CITU’s (Centre of Indian Trade Unions) Assam general secretary Tapan Kumar Sarma, on the other hand, blames it on both the ESIC and the CPWD for not according importance on the project, leading to its delay.
“We’ve submitted many a memorandum to the Director General of the ESIC. We’ve even staged dharnas in front of the ESIC model hospital in Beltola, but to no avail,” Sarma said, and added, “The State Labour and Employment Department is also not playing the right role for speedy completion of the project. They’re not putting pressure on the Centre.”
The region’s only ESIC model hospital renders healthcare services to around two lakh insured employees yearly. However, the hospital being a 50-bed one, many patients have to sleep on the ground.
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