Cost escalation estimates in the redevelopment of Harilal Bhagwati Hospital, Borivali, has forced the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to reduce the number of beds at the planned 1,000-bed super-speciality by half. According to civic health officials, tenders were floated to start the hospital’s second phase of redevelopment but contractors quoted 46 per cent more on planned budget.
There were two bidders. Those involved in redevelopment claimed that the newly-launched Goods and Service Tax (GST) might have played a role in the escalated cost of redevelopment.
But BMC executive engineer Rajendra Ghate said: “There are several factors for cost escalation. The GST cannot raise the cost by so much.” He added that a revised budget is yet to be finalised.
With the GST regime that kicked in on July 1, the state government had asked the BMC to issue fresh tenders where work orders were not given. The BMC was also supposed to renegotiate the revised cost with contractors.
In this case, renegotiation did not take place. The increased cost has forced the civic body to sacrifice its earlier plan of constructing a super-specialty hospital in the western suburbs.
While planning is underway, officials said the proposed 27-storey structure may now come down to a ground-plus-eight storey building, and the planned 1,000 beds might be reduced to 500, including 300 for routine procedures and 150 beds for selected speciality services like neurology, urology, and plastic surgery.
Dr Pradeep Angre, the medical superintendent of Shatabdi hospital, said: “There are also plans to introduce speciality services in Shatabdi hospital. It makes no sense to have two super-speciality hospitals so close (to each other) in the western suburbs.”
In October 2013, the 330-bed civic hospital was vacated overnight as it was a dilapidated structure and the staff members were transferred to Babasaheb Ambedkar Municipal hospital, also called the Kandivali Shatabdi hospital.
The BMC dragged its feet in the completion of the first phase of hospital opening an 11-storey nursing training centre as part of phase I in June 2016. It had 50 beds for male medicine, 50 for female medicine and 10 beds for medical intensive care unit (MICU) patients.
The first phase cost the BMC Rs 22 crore. Earlier, the second phase had 850 beds where the main hospital building would be demolished to make way for a new tower near the nursing training centre.
The delayed redevelopment has, however, taken a toll on health services in the western suburbs with patients in Borivali, Dahisar, and from northern parts of Mumbai forced to travel to either Dr R N Cooper Hospital in Vile Parle or Kandivali Shatabdi hospital for treatment.
“Currently, only the Out Patient Department of the hospital is working. There are very few admissions, only to put patients on saline or provide primary treatment. Most cases are referred to Kandivali Shatabdi hospital,” said former local
corporator, Dr Shubha Raul. No deliveries, surgeries or even consultation for speciality departments is available at the hospital.“We will issue fresh tenders after a revised plan is ready,” said Dr Pradeep Jadhav, the in-charge of peripheral hospitals.