by Tahir Bhat

SRINAGAR: Notwithstanding the protests by some BJP activists, the 500-bed DRDO Hospital in Khanmoh is being dismantled. The facility was a temporary one and meant exclusively t manage the Covd19’s second wave.

Informed sources told Kashmir Life that the Health Department (read GMC, Srinagar) has started shifting the critical equipment and the assets that were part of the hospital. “We will be sending 20 ICU beds to the paediatric hospital at Bemina and other beds will move to SMHS,” one official said.

Asked if the facility could have been retained by the Jammu and Kashmir’s health department, a senior official said there were efforts to do that but it could not materialise. He listed three issues that prevented the decision of take over.

Firstly, it was a temporary facility meant for a brief period. This, he said led to the creation of the facility on a temporary basis only. There were certain things which has started crumbling on their own because it was not a permanent facility, h said.

Secondly, the facility was not owned by the Jammu and Kashmir government. For a quick erection of the facility, the government had taken over the premises– owned by a major business house of Srinagar, for a brief period. They had given voluntarily for six months and it was either to be purchased or to be taken on rent. For the last few months, the company had been seeking the rent for the huge premises, which is reportedly still not paid.

Despite all this, sources said the government tried to take over the facility. For taking over, the government had to pay the costs that DRDO – which raised the premises on behalf of MHS through a construction company. The hospital, the government was told had come up at a cost of Rs 11.85 crore. “When the government carried out the survey of its worth, we were told that it is worth Rs 6.80 crore only,” insiders in the government. The difference, as expected could not be reconciled.

This was only later that the Jammu and Kashmir administrations decided not to own it.

The 500-bed facility has around 125 ICU beds which is important because these are fundamental to the management of all respiratory tract diseases including Covid19. These beds are being distributed to various hospitals run by the GMC and the about-to-start Children’s Hospital will be a major beneficiary. The children’s hospital was already having a serious dearth of the ICU beds.

“We were fortunate that most of the medical equipment that was installed in the facility had come to it by way of PM Cares fund so this was not part of the hospital,” one official said. “The major facilities that were part of the hospital included a 2.5-MW power generator and liquid oxygen facilities that would be taken by the contractor.”

It is worth mentioning here the DRDO Hospital helped manage 1255 Covid19 cases including almost 700 who were infected by the Omicron variant last year. However, the hospital helped authorities to keep the routine medical activities going in all other hospitals.

In Jammu, where another similar hospital was created on temporary basis, slightly on more costs, is also being removed. It was mostly in tenets and prefabs.


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