Updated: October 9, 2020 1:00:05 pm
Taking note of huge cost implications and liability of big ticket projects like the Gargai river dam and the coastal road, which it is executing at present, the BMC has requested the state government to take forward its ambitious plan of setting up 5,000-bed contagious disease hospital for Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR).
In a letter to state Chief Secretary Sanjay Kumar, BMC Commissioner Iqbal Singh Chahal has requested the government to execute the project through state public health and public works departments.
Chahal’s letter, dated October 6, (accessed by The Indian Express), stated that the proposed hospital will serve not only Mumbai but the entire MMR population. “It would be appropriate for the state government to consider the merits of the hospital project and take it forward, if necessary,” he wrote.
Another issue raised in the letter was that the project will require coordination from different government departments like revenue and urban development, as well as various municipal corporations, during planning, implementation and operational stages.
The letter further said that while BMC can share the cost of the hospital project, it cannot fully bear it. “Since the pandemic has affected the finances of BMC adversely, it may not be able to fully bear the cost of the project,” Chahal wrote. The BMC is already facing a loss of about Rs 5,000 due to Covid-19 pandemic.
It has also requested the state to look into suitable land parcel options, which could be available with the revenue, transport and other departments, for the hospital project.
The letter stated that earlier, BMC had found a land parcel in Mulund for the hospital. It added that if a full-fledged hospital, with a medical research centre, is built, the project could cost around Rs 4127.72 crore. However, if an convention centre that can be converted into a hospital during a pandemic is constructed on that land, the project could cost around Rs 2554.24 crore.
“This cost is apart from the cost needed to acquire land… Obviously, the project has huge cost implications,” the letter added.
Earlier, BMC had received two proposals from private builders – Sun and Shine Entertainers Private Limited that offered 1.25 lakh sq m land at Bhandup, and Swas Construction, which offered 91,914 sq m in Mulund. A nine-member committee of BMC was set up to study the proposals, which said the land in Mulund was better than Bhandup.
On July 20, during a meeting of Maharashtra Corona Task Force Committee, experts had expressed the need of setting up a 5,000-bed hospital for contagious disease for MMR. Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray had directed the BMC to take the matter further.
On July 30, the BMC had invited expression of interest for acquisition of vacant land for the project. As per preliminary discussion, the hospital would require 23 acre of open land and should be located close to either western or eastern express highways.
“We have requested the government to look for other land options as government-owned land would bring the cost down,” Additional Municipal Corporation (Projects) P Velrasu said.
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