ISLAMABAD, Aug 26: Expressing its inability to extend the infrastructure of the two existing hospitals in the capital, the federal government on Monday assured the Senate that it would expedite construction of a proposed new 200-bed Islamabad General Hospital at Tarlai, which had initially been proposed in 1990.
The assurance came from Leader of the House in the Senate Raja Zafarul Haq when he was reminded by Chairman Nayyar Bokhari that the PC-1 of the project was ready and that the government should take steps to construct the new hospital.
The issue came under discussion when Tahir Hussain Mashhadi of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) moved a resolution recommending that “the infrastructure of Pims (Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences) and Polyclinic (Federal Government Services Hospital) may be extended to increase the number of beds in all wards.”
Speaking in support of the resolution, Mr Mashhadi said the two hospitals were built keeping in view the population of the capital city during 1960s and 1970s. With the increase in population, the hospitals could not cater to the needs of the people, particularly the poor and low-ranking government officials.
The MQM senator regretted that people could be seen lying in the corridors of Pims and Polyclinic due to insufficient number of beds.
Responding to the points, Federal Minister for Kashmir Affairs Barjees Tahir told the house that the infrastructure at Pims could not be extended as the construction of a third-storey was not possible due to some technical reasons.
As far as Polyclinic is concerned, he said, the land of the adjacent Argentina Park was being acquired for the extension of the hospital.
Chairman Nayyar Bokhari, who had worked hard on the issue as leader of the house in the previous PPP government, interrupted the minister, saying the project of expanding Polyclinic had been lingering for the past many years due to some dispute between the CDA and the hospital administration.
Moreover, he said, there had been some court ruling according to which the government might face difficulties in converting the public park into a hospital.
Mr Bokhari, who belongs to Islamabad, added that he had initiated the process for the construction of a district headquarters hospital and the land at Tarlai had already been selected for it. Moreover, the PC-1 of the project was also prepared during the previous government.
Raja Zafarul Haq assured the house that the government would look into the project and try to complete it.
The MQM senator did not press for the passage of the resolution after Mr Haq’s assurance.
The Islamabad capital territory administration has already prepared a PC-I for the construction of a 200-bed Islamabad General Hospital (IGH) at Tarlai.
The federal government also responded to a question on the same issue in the National Assembly last week.
In 1990, a proposal for the establishment of a 125-bed DHQ Hospital was initiated and a PC-I was prepared at an estimated cost of Rs131.24 million with the completion period of three yeas (1991-93).
However, the scheme could not be materialised because of the lack of interest by the subsequent governments.
In 2006-07, a fresh PC-I under Prime Minister’s Islamabad Development Package was prepared with a total cost of Rs1.5 billion.
On April 7, 2009, the scheme was approved by the Islamabad Development Working Party.
On January 5, 2010, the copies of the PC-I were sent to the Ministry of Interior for onward submission in the Planning and Development Division.
On January 7, 2010, the interior ministry forwarded the copies to the Planning Commission with the approval of the interior secretary. On March 30, 2010, the draft PC-I of the hospital was considered in the pre-CDWP meeting.
On April 1, 2010, the scheme “Establishment of DHQ Hospital at Tarlai” was renamed as “Islamabad General Hospital at Tarlai.”
In May, the PC-I was modified and revised with a total cost of Rs945.878 million and sent to the interior ministry. On February 21, 2011, the ministry was again requested to approach the Planning Commission for quick vetting and placing of the project before the Central Development Working Party (CDWP) for approval.
The interior ministry approached the Planning Commission on December 18, 2012, for approval and placement of the PC-I on the agenda of the forthcoming CDWP.
Later, the health department, ICT, confirmed the source of availability of funds and PWD as an executing agency validated the revised cost estimates in January this year.