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North MCD’s TB hospital houses 100 patients in ‘dangerous’ building, triggers AAP, BJP slugfest

🔴 According to officials, only a portion of the building has been declared dangerous but sources said because the corporation does not have the funds for repair works, it is holding off on the official declaration.

Written by Abhinav Rajput | New Delhi |
Updated: December 31, 2021 12:10:17 pm
A photograph of the M Block of Raja Babu TB Hospital in GTB Nagar in Delhi (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

Around 100 patients, most of them suffering from tuberculosis and lung-related ailments, are admitted to the four-floor ward of Rajan Babu Institute of Pulmonary Medicine and Tuberculosis at GTB Nagar in New Delhi even as a board outside declares the building to be dangerous.

As one enters the hospital, which comes under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, at least five boards with the same warning greet you: “This building is dangerous, going ahead is prohibited.”

The issue has also led to a political slugfest between the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and the BJP which rules the municipal corporation. AAP MLA Atishi Marlena has accused the BJP of “ruthlessly playing with the lives of Delhiites”.

Each floor in the hospital has one or two halls with patients in them and a room for medical staff.

According to officials, only a portion of the building has been declared dangerous but sources said because the corporation does not have the funds for repair works, it is holding off on the official declaration. Meanwhile, it has ordered the structural safety audit of the building, said sources.

Hospital staff said they have raised the issue regarding maintenance of the building several times but nothing significant has happened except for a few cosmetic repairs.

On the top floor, an area has been marked as a ‘no entry zone’ but in a hall on the same floor, around 20 patients are admitted. “We have been here for a month, my relative has been admitted here for a lung problem,” said Islamuddin from Jahangirpuri.

Warning sign outside M Block of Raja Babu TB Hospital in GTB Nagar in Delhi (Express Photo By Amit Mehra)

A staff member at the hospital said around two months ago, plaster began to fall off the walls in one of the halls on the top floor, after which it was vacated.

Another staff member said they had given written complaints several times of plaster peeling off and portions collapsing: “When we complain, that particular area is repaired but other areas of the hospital soon begin to fall apart.”

He said that at least three complaints have been made in the past one year. “They should repair the whole structure at one go instead of making cosmetic repairs,” said another staffer.

“Most of the original construction in the hospital is around 50 years old; it needs to be demolished instead of being repaired from time to time. However, it all comes down to funds which the MCD doesn’t have,” said the staffer.

With 700 beds and around 50 doctors, the Rajan Babu institute is one of the biggest hospitals under the North MCD.

“The BJP-controlled North MCD’s hospital building is a disaster in waiting; it can collapse any time and take numerous lives,” Atishi Marlena said.

Standing committee chairperson of North MCD Jogi Ram Jain claimed the front elevated portion is dangerous but the rest of the portion is fine. “There are barricades to ensure that people don’t venture out front. We have sought a report from IIT-Roorkee on the safety of the building, which is awaited,” he said.

Hitting out at the AAP, Delhi BJP spokesperson Praveen Shankar Kapoor said Atishi has tried to portray that Rajan Babu TB Hospital is being run from a dangerous building while only the front portion, which is a covered verandah, was recently declared dangerous. “The building which houses the hospital wards is safe,” he said.

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