Eight years down the line, Mayo’s tower gets another deadline

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  • Officials accuse Punjab govt of having bias against PML-Q govt’s projects as Mayo Hospital’s Surgical Tower continues to face delays since its ground breaking in 2006

 

LAHORE

UMAIR AZIZ

The medical authorities have their fingers crossed as the Punjab government has issued another deadline; February 2015, for the completion of Mayo Hospital’s Surgical Tower, allegedly exhibiting a “step motherly” attitude towards the project which was initiated by former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q).

“It is clear that the Punjab government is biased against this tower because many other crucial schemes have been neglected only because they were initiated by the Chaudhrys. Left-in-the-middle building of Services Institute of Medical Sciences (SIMS) on Lahore’s Jail Road and Wazirabad Institute of Cardiology are among several other projects of the former Punjab government which have been left incomplete by the incumbent government, causing a loss of millions of rupees to the public kitty,” a senior official, seeking anonymity, told Pakistan Today.

The proposed five-storey Surgical Tower was proposed to bring all ‘scattered’ units of a discipline under one roof. However, the red brick building has been erected at the cost of millions of rupees but nothing has progressed since Shahbaz Sharif took over as the chief minister, the official said.

“Once former Punjab chief secretary Javaid Mehmood visited the tower and instead of helping us out, he slashed two top floors of the plan immediately, causing a big dent to the plan,” a senior doctor privy to the information told Pakistan Today.

The project has faced multiple delays since its launch in April 2006, mainly because of “funds shortage”.

“Last time, the government diverted a major chunk of development funds for the completion of Metro Bus and this year too, that is the priority,” a senior official said.

“The construction was to be completed in 2010 and the deadline was later extended to 2012,” he said, adding that according to the project’s PC-I, the total estimated project cost was Rs 1,695 million and presently, the building required Rs 450 million for its completion.

According to documents, the first PC-I of the scheme was prepared and approved in 2004. Later, the PC-I was revised in 2005, 2011 and 2012, respectively.

According to the 2012-revised PC-I, of the total approved cost of the Surgical Tower, Rs 983.8 million were allocated for the building construction and Rs 712 million for equipment procurement.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Health was not available for comments, however, Mayo Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Amjad Shahzad said that the government has allocated and released all Rs 300 million required for the completion of the project.

“We have already spent Rs 65 million on the tower since February this year and the government has given us a target of completing it by February next year,” Dr Shahzad added.

The Surgical Tower would have 16 modern operation theatres, isolation wards, surgical ICUs, Day Care Surgery, offices of consultants and other doctors. Costly equipment such as CT-Scan, MRI and X-Ray machines are also a part of the project.

According to an official, Mayo Hospital was attending over 10,000 patients at its emergency and outdoor departments daily that showed the scale of burden on its administration and the doctors. The number of trauma, accident and other emergency cases brought to the hospital was alarmingly high as compared to any other state-run health facility.

Mayo Hospital, attached with the country’s prime seat of medical learning, the King Edward Medical University, is itself the biggest hospital in the province. Besides the locals, patients visit the hospital from distant parts of the province as well as from other provinces.