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...HC cracks whip on health hub delay
Court summons secretary, firm MD

Expressing its anguish over the slow construction of Jai Prakash Narayan All India Institute of Medical Sciences (JPNAIIMS), Patna High Court on Wednesday directed the managing director of M/s BL Kashyap & Sons Ltd — the firm entrusted with the job of building the hospital — to explain the delay before it on August 22.

The division bench comprising Justice Prakash Chandra Verma and Justice Aditya Kumar Trivedi also directed the joint secretary of the Union ministry of health and family welfare to appear before it in person the same day after the construction company submitted before the bench that the central government was not cooperating with it in providing the design of the hospital or on how to carry out the work further.

The court passed the direction while hearing a PIL filed by Council for Protection of Public Rights and Welfare through its counsel Brajesh Kumar seeking expeditious completion of the project. Kumar submitted that doctors were supposed to join Guru Govind Singh (GGS) Hospital in Patna City by July 25 according to the court’s directive but they have not so far. Out of 22 doctors recruited so far, only five have joined the JPNAIIMS, he added.

The court had attached 450-bed GGS Hospital in Patna City with the JPNAIIMS till its own building was ready.

The state government’s counsel, Shashi Bhushan Kumar, submitted the report of the DM, Sanjay Kumar Singh, who inspected on August 6 the progress of the construction of the hospital, road and the gate of JPNAIIMS campus being built at Phulwarisharif.

“It was pertinent that the overall progress of the hospital work is about 40 to 45 per cent. In the hospital block, about 22 to 25 per cent of the brick work has been completed but the plaster work has just commenced,” stated the report of the DM, appointed as deputy director/joint director/ director (administration) of JPNAIIMS by the court in the last hearing on August 1.

The high court-appointed three-member committee, comprising the petitioner, Kumar, the state’s counsel, Shashi Bhushan, and the Centre’s counsel, Vinay Kumar Pandey, visited the JPNAIIMS construction site on August 4 and echoed the views of the DM. The panel observed the construction work of the hospital was going on at a tardy pace. But the team was satisfied with the construction work of the JPNAIIMS college.

After perusing the reports of both Patna district magistrate (DM) and the high court committee, which talked about the slow pace of JPNAIIMS construction, the court observed why criminal case should not be lodged against the construction company or why its contract should not be cancelled for not completing the construction work of the hospital by the September 2012 deadline.

The court had on June 29 last year fixed October 2, 2012 as the deadline to make JPNAIIMS operational. The central government said during the last hearing on August 1 that JPNAIIMS hospital could only be operational in 2013.