PHC upgradation approved at Rs 7 crore against Rs 2 crore norm

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A proposal by government to upgrade Primary Health Center (PHC) at Kakapora in Pulwama at an “inordinately high cost” has raised eyebrows within the health department, forcing authorities to make amends. 
An official said as an initial plan the government approved proposal for construction of a new building of Primary Health Center (PHC) at Kakapora in Pulwama at Rs 7 crore. The cost is three times more than the norm of Rs 2 crore.
The present two-storey building of the PHC is located on Newa-Kakapora road. It stands tall and is well maintained. However the proposal came as a surprise to many officials in the health department. 
Citing example to illustrate the “huge deviation”, a senior health department official said that last year, PHC Telwani was allocated Rs 1.94 crore and a similar allocation was made for PHC Hazratbal.
He said in the recent past hospital projects involving 50 beds have been given funds amounting to Rs 7 crore and as such there seemed to be no justification to approve project cost of Rs 7 crore for a PHC.
The official said when queries were being raised, a separate proposal was moved for upgrading the PHC to the level of sub district hospital (SDH), again against the norms. 
An official document accessed by Greater Kashmir revealed that following fund allocation of Rs 7 crore, planning department directed health department to provide a feasibility report for upgrading the PHC to SDH level. 
A source however questioned the move asking how a project could be moved and approved without first getting its feasibility from the department. “How can there be an SDH for Kakapora when rules governing health sector infrastructure do not permit it all,” the source said.
According to Indian Public Health Standards (IPHS) guidelines that govern manpower and infrastructure strength in health sector, an SDH can be set up in a village/town with a population of at least 80,000 people in plain areas and 1.20 lakh in hilly areas in order to give improved access to healthcare.
Official documents reveal that Kakapora has a population of around 22,000 persons. Moreover, PHC Kakapora is just eight kilometre away from SDH Pampore and 10 km from district hospital Pulwama. 
A senior health official said that creation of too many health institutions and upgrading the existing ones without feasibility and justification had “deteriorated” healthcare delivery in rural areas. “If Government is converting PHC into SDH, where is the staff creation,” he asked.
He said that even in district hospital Pulwama, it was only through pooling human resources from nearby PHCs that the administration was able to cater to the requirements. 
The official alleged that the Government was “just making buildings” which were a waste of funds and served no purpose in improvement of healthcare delivery. “Scores of our buildings are lying defunct due ill-planning,” he said.
Commissioner health and medical education, Atal Dulloo confirmed that funds of Rs 7 crore had been allocated for the Kakapora PHC.
“We are upgrading it to SDH,” he said. Asked about the requirement for an SDH at Kakapora, and if feasibility report for upgradation of the center had been prepared, he said, “The decision had been taken before I joined. But, yes there is workload at the PHC,” he said.

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