Year after announcement, work yet to start on AIIMS Awantipora

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A year after Government of India gave formal nod to setting up of AIIMS-like health institute in Kashmir, the authorities concerned are yet to start work on the project which is coming up at Awantipora in Pulwama district.
Sources said although the land measuring 1500 kanals stands transferred to State Health and Medical Education Department for six months now, the Central Public Works Department (CPWD), which is the executing agency for the project, hasn’t taken up the construction.
The delay, sources said, was “deliberate” on part of the authorities. “The government is yet to finalize the land for setting up another AIIMS at Jammu as a part of the land that had been identified is inhabited by Gujjar families at Vijaypur in Samba. While almost all formalities have been completed for AIIMS Kashmir the authorities are insisting that the work on the two projects should start simultaneously,” said the sources. “That is the reason that the authorities are going slow with commencing work at Awantipora site.”
An official said government was facing problems in eviction of nomads settled on the land belonging to forest department at Vijaypur which had been identified for the AIIMS. Out of 1900 kanals of land identified there, only 293 kanals is state land and about 1400 kanals of land belong to Forest department which was yet to be transferred to Health and Medical Education Department, said the official.
The state government had on May 27, 2016 received approval from the government of India for construction of the two primer institutes for J&K.
To a question about the delay in start of work on AIIMS at Awantipora, Nodal Officer for the project, Dr Yashpal Sharma, evaded direct response. “The project will be executed by Central Public Works Department (CPWD), a central authority. We have no role in it,” he said. However he asserted that there was no deliberate delay in taking up the work.
The official said work on access road to the site and providing water supply and electricity connections have already been taken up for the project. “The funds for land acquisition have been transferred to the Deputy Commissioner (DC) Pulwama,” he said. “Only last week, we transferred Rs 24 crores to the DC Pulwama so that the acquisition could be expedited,” he asserted. “By now the work on the project should have begun.”
AIIMS Kashmir is Rs 2000 crore hospital project that will have a capacity of 1000 beds, including 300 super specialty beds. It will have a Medical College with intake capacity of 100 students, flanked by a Nursing College with annual capacity of 60 students. Setting up of the super specialty AIIMS in Kashmir was part of coalition government’s Agenda of Alliance.