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RAWALPINDI, Aug 15: Rawalpindi Institute of Cardiology (RIC) on which the Punjab government has spent more than Rs2billion has missed another deadline to start functioning as doctors have not been recruited and machinery are rusting at dry port.

This situation has forced the provincial government to announce another date for the inauguration of the hospital next month.

Earlier, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif announced to make the cardiac hospital functional from August 15 and asked the administration to make all the arrangements to start the outdoor patients department (OPD) from the date.

A senior official told Dawn that the committee had recruited 21 medical officers during last one month against the posts of 69 medical officers. He said that the provincial government had failed to issue the letters to the selected medical officers.

He said that the provincial government wanted to bring General Azhar Kayani as RIC Chief Executive soon after his retirement from Armed Forces Institute of Cardiology (AFIC) where he has been serving as commandant.

A senior official said due to delay in the installation of machinery, the health department had asked Holy Family Hospital (HFH) to accommodate their patients for medical tests.

RIC Medical Superintendent Dr Shoaib Khan said that the project had not been delayed but the health department had delayed the inauguration function due to Ramazan and some important engagements of the chief minister.

He said that the installation work of most of the machinery had almost been completed.

He, however, admitted that some machinery procured from abroad arrived at the dry port and it would be brought to the city soon as the government had made all arrangements for its transportation.

The MS maintained that the recruitment had been completed and doctors and nurses would start working as soon as the hospital was inaugurated.

When contacted, commissioner Imdadullah Bosal said that the administration had completed the civil work and recruitment in record two months and made the hospital ready to function.

He said that one or two weeks delay in inauguration was normal in such projects.

“We wanted to make the hospital perfect with all the facilities to accommodate poor and the needy of the region and adjoining areas as per the wishes of the provincial government,” he said.