AIIMS construction finally begins in Patna

Patna, April 20: Residents of the state have something to cheer about on the healthcare front. Construction work at the Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS) site has finally taken off after a protracted delay.

Sources said the rather long wait in the commencement of the construction work was occasioned by a power shift at the Centre. The foundation stone for the Rs 350-crore project (estimated cost at that time) was laid in 2004, when the NDA government was in power.

In 2005, the Congress-led UPA replaced the BJP-led coalition at the Centre and the project was put on the backburner, said the source.

However, a source in the Union health and welfare ministry said the health hub, which is coming up at Walmi village near Phulwarisharif, 20km from Patna, is expected to be start functioning by the end of 2012.

Officials associated with the Bihar project claim it is in the “most advanced” stage among the six states, including Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Orissa, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand, where similar projects are planned.

The cost of the project has, however, gone up because of the delay.

“The cost has already escalated from Rs 350 crore to Rs 800 crore as a result of the delay. While Rs 500 crore will be spent on construction, Rs 300 crore will be spent on setting up the hospital, purchasing equipment, acquiring resources and logistics,” a senior officer associated with the project told The Telegraph.

“About 1,500 construction workers are, at present, involved in the project and are working 24×7 in three shifts. The construction area is split in two parts. While one part will have facilities like the hospital, medical and nursing colleges and hostels, spread across 67 acres, the other part, situated about 1km from the main centre, will have housing complexes for doctors and employees. It will be spread over 33 acres. The tallest building, all of eight storeys, will be one of the hostels,” the officer added.

He also said, “The project has been awarded to two contractors — Nagarjuna Construction Company and BL Kashyap & Sons. The former is responsible for constructing the medical college, the nursing school and the hostels. It started work in June 2010 and has already completed over 35 per cent of the work. It should complete the construction work by March next year.”

“The other company involved in the construction began work in September last year. It will finish its work by the end of next year,” added the officer. The superspeciality hospital, which will be centrally air-conditioned, will have 960 beds for patients.

“The hospital will also have an Ayush unit, where patients will be treated with the help of indigenous medicines. The hospital will have 27 operation theatres. In the beginning, 100 students will be enrolled in MBBS courses, entrance for which will be conducted by AIIMS society,” the officer said.

He added that the construction work was put on fast track after Patna High Court started monitoring the project following a public interest litigation filed be members of the civil society.

The officials deployed at the project site, however, could not confirm whether the medical college would be in a position to enrol for the medical and nursing colleges from the next academic session.

“That depends on a number of factors and the Medical Council of India report after which the Union health ministry will take a final decision,” the officer said.

He also said once ready, the Patna project will not only cater to the healthcare needs of Bihar residents but also of people from Nepal, Bengal and other eastern states, where there is a lack of quality healthcare services.