The RMC hospital at Ratu Road Chowk in Ranchi remains closed on Friday. Picture by Hardeep Singh
Poor little rich hospital. A year is gone since the 20-bed healthcare facility on Ratu Road was inaugurated on November 16, 2011, but the Rs 1.5-crore facility is not up and running.
The building on Ranchi Municipal Corporation (RMC) land was built from scratch, thanks to Rajya Sabha MP and Reliance Industries Limited group president (corporate affairs) Parimal Nathwani. He gave liberally from Member of Parliament local area development scheme (MPLADS) and Reliance welfare funds.
A year down the line, the RMC has not managed to select a private partner to run the two-storey hospital.
The RMC wants to lease out the facility for a 15-year tenure on profit-sharing mode. “Since the property is ours, we are entitled to our share of hospital earnings,” said Ranchi mayor Rama Khalkho.
But the hospital continues to be a 4,000sqft sterile showpiece, with emergency, reception, OPD area, two operating theatres and 20 beds waiting in vain for patients and healthcare professionals. These apart, there are doctors’ cabins, area for a chemist’s shop, a casualty section and parking.
If Khalko is to be believed, tenders were floated thrice since this January to no avail. “No one came forward to grab the chance,” she said.
RMC officials said they had requested Nathwani — a man who wears many hats with elan — to run the hospital.
“We mooted this idea to Nathwani during a meeting. But, he had one condition that the civic body (RMC) would not interfere. But how is this possible? After all, we own the property,” said an official.
An official at the MP’s office, however, said he had never been approached formally.
Now that a year is over, the hospital, orphaned for all intents and purposes, urgently needs to be yoked to an implementing agency before it becomes a Rs 1.5 crore joke.
Khalkho said they were mulling giving the facility to Apollo group (Chennai). “The RMC selected Apollo group to construct a 200-bed hospital in Ghagra, Doranda. We sent a file two months ago to this effect to the government. Let one task be done at a time.”
RMC CEO Dipankar Panda had another plan. “We may now go for a global tender so that firms outside the state can bid. Initially, we thought of Apollo group as they liked the facility, but now we will again float a tender,” he said.
Insiders say the reason why firms are wary of RMC tenders is the power struggle between two sets of members on board — elected representatives such as mayor and ward councillors and state officials such as the CEO and others.
Both Khalkho and Panda seem to be in for a long wait.