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Capital gets utility complex
Scattered shops to come under one roof

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 3: Shops scattered on the Capital Hospital premises will finally be put together under one roof as an utility complex was inaugurated there today in a building that lay unoccupied for six years.

Health minister Damodar Rout inaugurated the 12-room complex today, of which nine have so far been allotted. However, except for the fruit-sellers’ and tea kiosks, other shops are yet to be opened.

The space created with the removal of the scattered shops on the hospital campus will be used for building a new casualty ward and also for the proposed postgraduate institute of medical sciences. The hospital caters to the needs of more than 3,000 patients every day and the state government is in the process of converting it into a medical college shortly.

At present, students of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, are using Capital Hospital’s facilities for practical classes.

Hospital authorities and the district administration officials said all the shops, including the three medicine shops on the hospital premises, would shortly be shifted to the new complex. However, some hospital officials expressed doubts over timely execution of the shifting process.

“It took more than six years for the government to wake up and put all the vendors of the hospital premises under one roof. We don’t know how long will it take to bring all the shop owners into the utility complex,” said a senior official on condition of anonymity.

The chief medical officer of Capital Hospital, Sudarshan Dash, however, sounded positive. “We have decided to bring all the shops under one roof within 15 days. Not a single shop will be allowed to operate outside the utility complex after the 15-day period,” he said.

Other sources, however, expressed doubts that the 120-square feet space that has been allotted to each medicine shop inside the utility complex might be inadequate. The three medicine shop owners have also given a memorandum to the government in this regard.

Khurda district collector Roopa Mishra said: “There were a number of legal battles related to the shifting process. Even this year, we were planning to shift all the shops by October. But, we failed to meet the deadline because of some procedural delays. All the shops will have to be shifted. We may consider the space problem of the medicine shop owners later, but they will have to move now.”

Health minister Damodar Rout said: “We may consider allotting two kiosks to each of the medicine shop owners so that they can use one kiosk as their store room and another as sales counter.”

Pragati Ranjan Mohanty, a medicine shop owner inside the hospital, said: “The patients coming to the emergency department will suffer the most if the medicine shops are shifted to the utility complex.”

Pre-paid ambulance

A pre-paid ambulance service was launched here today by the health minister.

One can get a ticket from the counter and collect the ambulance from the stand near the isolation ward. Some 25 private ambulance operators have empanelled themselves with the pre-paid service.

Interestingly, the hospital authorities have not publicised the government ambulance service as the pre-paid service is going to be more expensive. While the rates for the government ambulance service varies between Rs 350 and Rs 850 for different sizes and locations of speciality hospitals in Cuttack, for private pre-paid ambulances the rates vary between Rs 1,050 and Rs 1,450.

When The Telegraph questioned district collector Roopa Mishra why the government ambulance service was not being publicised properly, she asked the hospital authorities to immediately put up a chart with the fees charged by the government ambulance service. “We have eight government ambulances, but only three are serving at present. The remaining five will shortly be ready for service,” she said.