The seven ‘Covid hospitals’ that the Delhi government had promised to set up within six months as the Covid-19 pandemic raged across the country in 2021, are still incomplete.
Now, as per officials in the health department, the new plan is to convert them into full-fledged hospitals with 6,834 beds in total. To create more generalised facilities in these hospitals, OPDs, operation theatres, laboratories as well as administrative blocks will be set up.
The hospitals are coming up at Sarita Vihar, Raghubir Nagar, Shalimar Bagh, Kirari and Sultanpuri, and in the existing premises of Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya and GTB Hospital.
At five out of the seven sites, 70-80% of work is complete. These hospitals were supposed to be quicker to build as they were being made using precast building technology, which uses reusable moulds to mass produce building blocks in factories from where they are transported to the construction site for assembling.
An official said the redesigned structure of the hospitals has not been finalised yet. Another official said issues of budgetary allocations had also cropped up because of which work was halted.
At Kirari, work has not started due to continuous flooding caused by excessive groundwater, said officials.
As per the Economic Survey, which the Delhi government issued in March, construction work at the Shalimar Bagh Hospital was supposed to be complete by April 30. At Kirari, work was supposed to be completed by June 30. The hospitals at Sultanpuri, Sarita Vihar and Chacha Nehru Bal Chikitsalaya were to be completed by March 31. The facilities at GTB Hospital and Raghubir Nagar were to come up by April 30 and May 31, respectively.
The deadline for completion has been extended at least twice.
“Discussions are on to finalise the new designs after which budgetary allocations will be decided for redevelopment. The government has to sanction it, and it will be done after OPD, OT and sitting areas for patients and attendants are finalised by the health department,” said an official source.
The official said the tender issued earlier was incomplete and many issues came up, including construction flaws in septic tanks. “Getting budgetary clearance is a long process. It will take time after several approvals by the Public Works Department, health department etc,” the official added.
Asked about the delay and the new deadline, the Delhi government spokesperson did not comment. The Indian Express