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ISLAMABAD, Jan 22: Whenever the government launches a mega-project, new jobs created to manage the project always get a lot of attention.

This time around, like always, a new project, to upgrade Federal Government Services Hospital (Polyclinic), costing a whopping Rs12 billion, seems to be the talk and envy in government circles as the new post of project director would manage all the finances.

According to a Ministry for Capital Administration and Development (CAD) official, the person being groomed for the project director post is presently working in Pims and in the coming days would be transferred to Polyclinic on the orders of the federal minister CAD.

The federal secretary of CAD, Riffat Shaheen Qazi, though maintains that transfer between Pims and Polyclinic — both government hospitals — are routine affairs and the minister was empowered to make transfers.

On the other hand, Polyclinic compared to Pims — which is a bigger facility — was always in need of expansion as its Out Door Patients (OPD) facility was always congested due to overflow of patients.

The project

The project costing an estimated Rs12 billion will officially establish a new Polyclinic tower.

The tower will be a modern style five-storey building, established in Argentina Park, on an area comprising 2.5 acres.

Argentina Park is located adjacent to Polyclinic’s present building.

After the completion of the project, the hospital will have a capacity of 1,150 beds, bringing it on the par with Pims.

The post

A senior official at CAD said: “The ministry has decided to appoint a senior official from Pims, Dr Altaf Hussain, currently working as joint executive director (JED) at Pims, to assume the charge of the same position at Polyclinic, in addition to the charge of project director of Polyclinic’s new building.”

The CAD official added that: “A number of senior physicians were ignored by CAD while choosing a senior official from Pims, instead of Polyclnic which puts a question mark over the ministry’s sudden choice of official for the project.”

He maintained that posting of the official would be in addition to the charge of project director, since the official would be running the Rs12 billion new hospital building project.

On the other hand, another official close to the development said: “The ministry is in a hurry to start the project ignoring the fact that it will take a minimum of six months for the initial design of the building to complete, while the project will take at least three years to complete once the money is released by the government.”

The senior official at CAD maintained that the current posting is an unusual one since an official working at a senior level at Pims was never transferred to Polyclinic before.

Doctors and nurses are often transferred from Pims to Polyclinic and vice versa but not senior officials, said the  CAD official.

The ministry differs

Federal Secretary CAD Riffat Shaheen Qazi said: “The federal minister (Nazar Mohammad Gondal) has desired the appointment of Dr Altaf Hussain as JED Polyclinic and this was a routine transfer posting matter.”

The secretary maintained: “The management at the Polyclinic knows of the posting of the new JED and it was not controversial.”

On the other hand, Ms Qazi said that “no position of project director is offered to Dr Hussain and the posting is only as JED Polyclinic.”

The secretary insisted that posting and transfers within the two hospitals were often done on merit.