An enquiry has been initiated against officials of the Delhi State Cancer Institute (DSCI) for alleged under-utilisation of infrastructure and high-end equipment, despite spending crores on it.
The matter reached the Central Vigilance Commission in 2010 and investigations have been on since then. In 2017, the CVC asked the Delhi government to independently probe the complaint. In January, the Department of Vigilance ordered action by fixing responsibilities of erring officials.
“The case has been examined in detail and, prima facie, the allegations levelled in the complaint appear to have substance,” reads the order issued by the L-G.
The foundation stone for the hospital was laid in 2000 at the GTB Hospital campus, at a cost of Rs 216 crore. The hospital entered a public-private partnership mode in 2006. The chief secretary of the state is chairperson of the institute.
“The institute has been under the scanner for making hefty purchases and under-utilising high-end equipment. In the past, audit reports have also highlighted loopholes in the functioning of the hospital,” said a senior health official.
According to an inspection report by the health department in 2016, four modular operation theatres and bone marrow transplant suits were installed at a cost of over Rs 7.5 crore in 2010-2011 and haven’t been used ever since.
Dr BL Sherwal, DSCI director, said: “We have submitted our response to the vigilance department; they are supposed to take action against officials now. The modular OTs have started to function, but the bone marrow transplant unit is yet to be operational.”
A CAG report for the 2016-17 financial year, tabled in the Delhi Assembly in 2018, also found that 50 beds and a photon-beam accelerator were lying unused at the DSCI’s west Delhi unit due to a four-year delay in sanctioning staff.
“Hospital maintenance has been ignored. Complaints have been sent to former chief secretaries regarding this. Public money has been spent on purchasing equipment that hasn’t been used,” said a senior official.
The inspection report also found lapses in overall functioning of the hospital. In its report to the Health Minister, it said: “Proper procedure related to appointments, procurement, etc are without approval of finance committee… Ventilators are lying idle… ICU equipment like beds, monitor ventilators, continue to remain non-functional. Bone marrow transplantation unit is non-functional.”