Unavailability of land halting construction of proposed 200-bedded hospital

[ Taba Ajum ]
ITANAGAR, Apr 1: In the 2019-20 budget, the Arunachal government proposed to construct a 200-bedded hospital in Itanagar, with special emphasis on maternal and child healthcare and ophthalmology.
It was also announced that the hospital would function as an eye centre of TRIHMS. The government even earmarked Rs 10 crore initially for the project to start. A year has passed since then, but the project is yet to take off.
With the Covid-19 health crisis exposing the poor condition of the state’s health sector, many are starting to question what happened to the project.
“Itanagar has two big hospitals, of which Heema is private and RKMH is run by an NGO but supported by the government. There are a few PHCs, sub-centres and dispensaries, but no major government hospital. Therefore, when this announcement was made, everyone was very happy. But it has remained only in media,” said a resident of Itanagar.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who visited TRIHMS on Wednesday, informed that the project has remained a non-starter due to unavailability of land.
“The government does not have the required land in Itanagar, and therefore this project could not be taken up. I will hold a cabinet meeting on Monday and discuss about it,” said the CM.
He also informed that the government is planning to convert RKM Hospital into a 200-bedded hospital.
“I already had initial discussion with the authorities of RKMH in this regard. They already have the required infrastructure and, with some more addition, can be developed into a 200-bedded hospital,” the CM said.
Speaking to this daily, Health Secretary P Parthiban informed that the proposal is still a part of this year’s (2020-21) budget. He also cited unavailability of land as the reason for the failure to start the project.
Meanwhile, Itanagar MLA Techi Kaso expressed hope that the government would learn from the Covid-19 health crisis and try to “drastically improve the condition of the health sector in the capital complex” by constructing newer hospitals and improving the existing ones.