Updated: January 11, 2021 10:06:32 pm
Even as the Shiv Sena, one of the constituents of the Uddhav Thackeray-led Maha Vikas Aghadi government, is persisting with its demand for renaming Aurangabad as Sambhajinagar, the city has been waiting for a 200-bed hospital for seven years. The hospital project has been sanctioned, funds have been allocated and land has been allotted, but the construction work of the hospital is yet to take off.
“Instead of raising the issue of renaming when elections are around, if the chief minister pushes for the construction of the hospital, it will immensely benefit the people of the city,” said AIMIM MP from Aurangabad Imtiaz Jaleel, who had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) in the Bombay High Court to get the hospital construction work started.
In March 2020, the High Court had asked the state government as to when it intends to start the work. “The High Court had sought to know from the state government as to how much time it needed to start work on the construction of the hospital and how much funds would be made available so that the hospital work could be carried out without any hurdles,” said Jaleel, adding that the government was told by the court to file its reply by April 3.
“Due to Covid-19, there were restrictions in place and the construction work could not be started. Even now, there is no sign of the work starting,” he said.
Jaleel said there is already one government hospital in Aurangabad but it’s not enough to cater to the large number of patients. “The government-run Ghati Hospital has a tremendous load of patients from 13 districts and struggles to provide treatment… Aurangabad badly needs another government hospital. Its absence was felt badly during the pandemic when patients were struggling to get beds,” he said.
The AIMIM MP said he has been pursuing the issue of hospital construction work since 2013. “When nothing was happening, I had to move the High Court, where I filed a PIL in 2017. In this period, the funds have been sanctioned. Over Rs 100 crore have been received by the collectorate and the land too has been allocated,” he said.
The hospital is proposed to be constructed at a site on Jalna Road where the Government Milk Scheme office stood. “The state government wanted to construct a memorial to BJP leader Gopinath Munde at the site. We had urged the government to construct the hospital instead and they can name it as Gopinath Munde Hospital. The total area is around 10-12 acres. The government can construct a memorial in one part and a hospital in another,” said Jaleel.
Government sources, however, said the total land allotted for the hospital will be 5.6 acres.
Reiterating that he had the highest regard for Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj and Chhatrapati Sambhaji Maharaj, Jaleel said, “Without developing Aurangabad and providing better hospital, better roads and air connectivity, if the government goes ahead with the renaming, it will an insult to Sambhaji Maharaj. First, they should put in efforts for developing Aurangabad and then talk of renaming the city. If the Shiv Sena make its best efforts for developing Aurangabad, AIMIM will support it,” he said.
Meanwhile, at a meeting of NCP in Aurangabad city, state Health Minister Rajesh Tope said, “The ground-breaking cremony of the hospital will begin in a month’s time.” Jaleel, however, said the government is yet to float a tender for the hospital.
Aurangabad District Collector Sunil Chavan said, “I will have to check with my officials regarding the status of the hospital. I will need some time to find out the exact position.”
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