HC raps Delhi govt for saying Dwarka hospital construction not pressing issue

The Delhi High Court on Wednesday rapped the Delhi government for not constructing the Indira Gandhi Hospital Dwarka within the set deadline, and said the work had not been completed “entirely due to lethargy of the state over the years”. It also pulled up the government for saying the completion of the construction was not a “pressing issue” in view of the improved Covid-19 situation in the national capital.

The division bench of Justices Vipin Sanghi and Rekha Palli said that since the state had heavily invested in the project for the benefit of its citizens, there was no reason why it should not complete the project at the earliest. It also questioned the state for not completing the construction and instead creating temporary facilities at different places.

“The State should learn from the bitter experience that all the citizens of Delhi have gained with the present onslaught of the pandemic. Though the situation may have somewhat improved with regard to availability of Covid beds, one cannot forget the situation which existed till just a couple of days ago when serious patients in need of hospitalisation with oxygen support, those requiring ICU with ventilators, were not able to get admission and many of them succumbed and were deceased without getting any chance to get treated appropriately,” said the court.

The Delhi government, in its reply, told the court the hospital in Dwarka was originally planned as a 700-bed healthcare facility and the construction was started by PWD. While the construction was in progress, the court was told, the government decided to escalate the capacity to 1,241 beds and attach a medical college to it. The revised estimate and design is under consideration, the state said.

The government also said that one OPD Block was recently completed by PWD, except minor finishing works, and it can accommodate 250 beds. The construction is still on, and no completion certification or the fire certificate is available for the building complex, it said. Dwarka Court Bar Association told the court the hospital was to be made operational by March 2020.

The court was further told by the government that a decision was taken to start a 250-bed makeshift Covid facility for treatment of not very serious patients as there is no piped oxygen infrastructure available, in the absence of which an ICU cannot be operated. Some portable ventilators have been given for use as temporary ICU equipment and 25 beds would be designated as ICU beds in the hospital, the state said.

The 250 beds with mattresses, 100 filled D-Type Oxygen Cylinders, 70 oxygen concentrators and portable ventilators have already been procured and provided to the hospital for it to start operations, Delhi government told the court. The hospital was thrown open on May 10 with 150 beds and the same will be increased to 250 beds in the next two days, the state said.

The court has asked the government to inform it about the earlier scheduled completion date and the reasons behind delay. It also asked the state to provide the new timeline within which the works will be completed, and ensure adherence to the set deadline.