Hospital to be set up in Chak Shahzad for COVID-19 patients

March 21, 2020

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People queue outside the registration counter of the flu filtration clinic at Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi on Friday. — APP
People queue outside the registration counter of the flu filtration clinic at Benazir Bhutto Hospital in Rawalpindi on Friday. — APP

ISLAMABAD: Following Prime Minister Imran Khan’s directive, the city managers on Friday earmarked 32 kanals in Chak Shahzad for setting up a prefabricated hospital for coronavirus (COVID-19) patients.

Sources said that the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) will likely start the construction of the hospital in the next few days.

Capital Development Authority’s (CDA) board, which met at the civic agency’s headquarters with Chairman Amer Ali Ahmed in the chair, approved the site for setting up the hospital on an emergency basis. “Today, following the directive of PM we earmarked 32 kanals. It’s a big development to set up the hospital on an emergency basis,” said a senior officer of the CDA.

The sources said the land given to NDMA was part of 611 acres the civic body had already leased out to the National Institute of Health (NIH).

NDMA will complete the prefabricated single-storey hospital in 35 days, official says

An official of the NDMA said the contract for the construction of the hospital would be signed on Saturday and the project will likely be inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday.

The official said construction of the prefabricated single-storey hospital will be completed in 35 days.

According to an NDMA document, owing to the current COVID-19 pandemic, the government took the instant step to check the virus spread.

“The prime minister has been pleased to give responsibility of Command and Control Centre be housed in NDMA being the lead operational agency. Sequel to the decision, the prime minister further directed the NDMA chairman to start the process of construction of a hospital comprising 250 beds at the land earmarked for National Institute of Health (NIH) by Capital Development Authority (CDA),” read the authority’s letter addressed to CDA.

The letter said: “The matter may be assigned highest priority as the prime minister may inaugurate the plaque of the hospital on March 21,” read the letter sent to the CDA on March 19.

However, contrary to the letter, the NDMA official said it will be a 275-bed facility.

Meanwhile, the CDA board also approved another summary allotting four amenity plots in housing schemes to National University of Medical Sciences (NUMS) to set up a health centre.

The sources said apparently the allotment of the plot had no connection with COVID-19. The university had been making efforts for the last many months to get land from CDA to set up medical facilities in various areas of the city. Finally, the CDA allotted them four plots in private housing schemes.

Public toilet facility

CDA board also approved 20 sites for setting up public toilets in various areas of the city. The civic body earmarked new sites following the Supreme Court’s recent hearing of a case, in which the apex court had shown its displeasure over the shortage of public toilets in Islamabad as well as the filthy condition of nullahs.

Meanwhile, CDA board also discussed proposed re-planning of the big sizes plots in sector E-12 and in principle agreed with re-planning of sizes of plots.

The sources said the board had also approved a summary for extension of the lease period of industrial plots in sector I-9, 1-10 and Industrial Triangle Kahuta Road.

They said the extension of the lease of the industrial units have been pending for decades, which cost the authority dearly. The board directed the Estate Management of the civic agency for approval of the lease extension of industrial plots subject to fulfillment of the set criteria.

The board also approved revised layout plan of Farash Town, a housing scheme specifically developed by CDA years ago to accommodate slums dwellers.

The board also discussed summary for change of land use of Mauve Area in sector G-13 and G-14 and decided to report the summary to the cabinet.

Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2020