Eight months have passed since its inauguration by chief minister Buddhadeb Bhattacharjee, yet not a single surgery has been performed at Institute of Cardio-Vascular Sciences, at RG Kar Medical College and Hospital.
The reason: the government has not been able to appoint any cardio-thoracic surgeon for the institute.
Two private hospitals ' Suraksha and Apollo Gleneagles ' had expressed interest in collaborating with the institute, the only super-speciality cardiology centre in the state. But 'slow response' from the government has made both proposals a non-starter.
The institute, set up at a cost of Rs 10 crore, is supposed to have facilities for bypass surgeries, coronary artery surgeries, rheumatic valve replacement and for treatment of special ailments like congenital heart diseases.
In reality, the institute has nothing to offer now, as there are no cardio-thoracic surgeons to run the facilities.
'There are only four or five cardio-thoracic surgeons, working at SSKM Hospital, National Medical College and Hospital and Medical College and Hospital. Bringing them to RG Kar will result in a collapse of the service there,' said a senior health department official.
Director of medical education Jayshree Mitra stated: 'We are trying to bring as many surgeons and other doctors from various medical colleges to the institute as we can.'
The health department official added that 60 per cent of the posts in the institute are lying vacant and most 'specialised wards' are under lock and key. 'At the cardio-thoracic unit, we need at least two senior surgeons, four assistants, two cardiac anaesthetists and other staff.'
Sophisticated imported equipment gathering dust includes Heart-Lung Machines and a number of cardiac monitoring gadgets.
The private hospitals that had offered tie-ups had proposed to bring in surgeons and equipment.
They had also proposed collaboration in open-heart surgery, cardio-thoracic surgery and neuro-surgery.
'We cannot force things. I do not know the reason for the delay. We are still waiting for a reply,' said S.N. Reddy, managing director, Apollo Gleneagles Hospitals.