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Court pulls up Delhi govt for lethargy in constructing 100-bed hospital

The Delhi high court on Wednesday pulled up the Delhi government and cited its ‘lethargic approach’ as the reason behind its failure to process a forest clearance to construct a 100-bed hospital in the city’s Najafgarh area despite the Centre’s nudge.

The bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti Singh was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) by a lawyer, Rajesh Kaushik, seeking a direction to the two governments to finish the construction of the hospital at the Rural Health Training Centre in Najafgarh. “Do something so that the construction is over. You can say no also but don’t sit tight. You decide as per law,” the bench said during the hearing, news agency PTI reported.

“It is the misfortune of the public at large that a 100-bedded hospital could not be completed because of the lethargic approach on part of the Delhi government,” the bench was quoted as saying.

The bench further stated that the Union of India has been writing “letter after letter” and yet “no reply” is being given on part of the Delhi government. “No counter has been filed (by Delhi government),” the bench said, according to PTI.

Advocate Anurag Ahluwalia, who was appearing for the Centre, said that the project was 80% complete and is waiting for Delhi government’s forest department’s go-ahead since December 2018 as the site needs a sanction for the “transplantation of trees.”

The petition noted that the structure of the building is complete, and it was “utmost essential” for the general public that the hospital becomes operational prior to the arrival of the possible third wave of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19). It also stated that the Najafgarh area lacks good hospitals and the setting-up of the 100-bed hospital would “cater to the needs of 15 lakh people” living in 73 villages.

In the end, the bench rendered time for the Delhi government to file response to the plea and mention the “least possible time” within which the sanction for the tree transplantation will be granted. The matter has been posted for next hearing on November 8.

In August, Delhi chief minister and Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) supremo Arvind Kejriwal said that his government will add as many as 6,800 additional beds in government hospitals across the Union territory (UT) – which will be operational in the next six months.

He added that the addition of the new beds would ramp up the bed capacity in Delhi government hospitals – which currently has around 10,000 beds, by 70%. Kejriwal said that these additional beds will be helpful if the national capital sees another Covid-19 wave. Hindustan Times

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