Eye on polls, Mamata ‘brushes aside’ technicalities to set up health hubs
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Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee has instructed the Public Works Department (PWD) to start work on 11 mother and child hubs across the state by February, even though PWD engineers have pointed out that it would take at least five months to meet the technicalities involved in pre-construction activities.
"The chief minister, who is not expected to know about technical aspects of construction activities, wants the hubs to be started soon. Perhaps she wants to showcase mother and child hubs before the panchayat polls. We have pointed out that construction cannot be started before June," a senior PWD official told The Indian Express.
The panchayat elections are due in May this year. During her all district tours, Mamata has spoken at length about the hubs.
"Before construction, we have to conduct soil tests. Rough cost estimates for the proposed hubs have been submitted in a few cases only. At some sites of the proposed hubs, buildings will have to be demolished and trees uprooted. Technical sanction has to be given by another wing of the PWD," an official said.
The buildings that need to be demolished are less than 10 years old and there may be local resistance before the demolition work begins. Also, locals could oppose felling of trees, officials suspect.
At Coochbehar Sadar Hospital, where a mother and child hub has been planned, is a heritage site and there are some big trees which have to be uprooted for construction. The health department has to take up the matter with the chief medical officer of health of the district. The PWD is awaiting the decision of the health department.
Although administrative approval for some hubs has been given, architectural plans of some of the facilities have to be vetted by the Rogi Kalyan Samiti of the hospitals where the centres will come up.
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