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₹614 Crore More to Bring Kriplani Hospital Back to Life

The Union health ministry has sent a revised cost of Rs 1200 crore (approx..) to the expenditure committee for redevelopment of Lady Hardinge Medical College (LHMC) and Sucheta Kriplani Hospital (SKH) associated with it. It has also assured that the work on the project, which has remained stuck for nearly three years, will resume by the end of this year. The redevelopment plan of LHMC and its associated hospitals was conceptualized in 2003 and approved by the Union Cabinet in 2011. The plan was to build a hostel, out- and in-patient blocks, and super-specialty divisions. The construction started in 2012 with a 20-month deadline at a cost of ₹586 crore. But the private contractor failed to fulfil its commitment in two years, and the government terminated the contract in 2015 after sending multiple notices. Since then, doctors say, there has been no progress.

A recent inspection by Central Public Works Department (CPWD) of the old building, which continues to be used for patient services at 877-bedded SKH, revealed the iron girders supporting its roof had completely rusted and were not capable of bearing any load. “Using the building in its present condition is equivalent to putting the lives of patients, hospital staff and other in danger,” the report stated. Sources said Union health minister JP Nadda called for all details of the project on Tuesday. Following this, a team of bureaucrats visited LHMC on Wednesday and held a joint meeting with faculty members and resident doctors. The team assured the hospital staff that approvals were being expedited to ensure that the work resumed in three to four months. “We are happy that the government took notice of our demands and hope their assurance is implemented on the ground with similar urgency and honesty,” said Dr Vivek Chouksey, resident of LHMC Resident Doctors’ Association. LHMC, one of the oldest medical colleges in India, have two hospitals associated with it — SKH and Kalawati Saran Hospital with 300 beds. – TOI