Crumbling days have made a comeback at state-run MGM Medical College and Hospital in Jamshedpur.
A giant chunk of concrete came off a cornice on the third floor of the recently revamped medicine block and crashed 35ft to the ground along with a window air-conditioner on Friday.
Fortunately, the accident took place in the small hours when no one was around the building, which received a Rs 70-lakh lease of life in March as a part of the Rs 5.5 crore repair and renovation project sanctioned by the health department a year ago.
The MGM hospital administration has decided to launch an inquiry into what seems to be shoddy repair by unscrupulous private contractors.
According to a Home Guard jawan who was on night duty at MGM, he and his fellow vigilante heard a loud thud around 1am. “It came from the medicine block. We rushed to find concrete rubble everywhere. And, there lay the damaged AC too. It must have fallen from a height of not less than 35ft,” he said.
Since it was “too late to contact” the hospital administration, the two jawans collected the pieces of the machine they could salvage and kept it inside the building.
Hospital superintendent A.N. Mishra inspected the crash site later in the morning.
“It is a shamefully serious thing to happen to a building within few months of repairs. I will set up an inquiry committee to assess the quality of work done,” Mishra, who is the principal of MGM Medical College in Dimna and doubles up as the superintendent of the hospital in Sakchi, said.
Repair and renovation of MGM buildings had started in July last year after a series of cave-ins and crashes since October 2012. Responding to then superintendent the late S.S. Prasad’s letters, the state health department had granted Rs 5.5 crore for a complete makeover of the hospital.
The renovation list included the medicine and surgical buildings, the emergency block and the administrative building. Reconstruction of pathways and revamp of drains were also part of the project. Adityapur-based private civil contractor S.K. Thakur repaired the medicine block.
Work began in July 2013 and the building was handed over in March.
A senior administrative official of the hospital underscored that a similar accident was waiting to happen at the adjoining surgical block. “This building was repaired by civil contractor Pappu Khan for Rs 86 lakh. It has been whitewashed and yet cracks are still visible on the outside walls,” he claimed, requesting anonymity.
Fears of being trapped in concrete rubble some day have returned to haunt patients and their relatives as the news of the crash spread.
“We were told that the hospital buildings had been repaired and were stronger now. The reality is different it seems. God knows when an entire block might cave-in, leading to heavy casualties,” said Sarju Bhagat who is undergoing treatment for liver ailment at the medicine ward.
Should MGM hospital buildings be condemned? Tell firstname.lastname@example.org