PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has agreed to allot land for construction of hospitals under the prime minister’s initiative on the condition that these will be treated as joint ventures and the latter alone will not claim credit for the hospitals, according to sources.
They said that federal government asked the provincial governments in September last year to allocate land for construction of hospitals. The federal government had planned to construct 43 hospitals throughout the country to cater to the healthcare needs of the people.
Officials said that federal government had asked for allocation of free land for seven hospitals but the provincial government insisted that it needed specialised hospitals because general hospitals already existed in those districts where Centre indicated to construct new facilities.
Officials said that federal government had announced construction of 43 hospitals in all provinces, including six in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. According to concept paper of the federal government, the hospitals will be built in Chitral, Charsadda, Mansehra, Haripur, Battagram and Hangu districts.
However, provincial government told the Centre in October last year that it required specialised hospitals instead of general hospitals.
The issue remained in cold storage for a few months. Last month, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government communicated to the federal government that two hospitals should be constructed in Kohat and Chitral districts but those should be publicised as joint ventures of the Centre and the province.
Officials said that a meeting of the Annual Plan Coordination Committee of the PSDP would take place in Islamabad on Wednesday (today) wherein the request of the province was likely to be discussed. The chief minister has already approved a plan, according to which the province would purchase 100-kanal of land for each of the hospital.
However, the federal government would not publicise these as Centre-sponsored projects because the provincial government would be buying the land and would later run the same in collaboration with the federal government. “The provincial government has also informed the Centre that it does not need construction of new health facilities but wants to strengthen the existing ones,” said officials.
They said that the hospitals would be included in the PSDP for the year 2017-18. They added that construction of the hospitals might be completed within three years if the projects were approved.
Sources said that a letter received by the province three weeks ago sought provision of land for hospitals but the chief secretary formally informed its senders that the land should be purchased by the federal government due to financial problems. “There should be full involvement of the province from construction to operation of these hospitals,” they said.
Officials said that the province would be involved in decision-making process with regard to the whole process.
They said that the province was already operating Nawaz Sharif Kidney Hospital in Swat for which Punjab Trust Hospitals provided Rs800.
Officials said that Khyber Pakhtunkhwa welcomed the nationwide initiative of prime minister but wanted full share in the publicity and decision making process.
“Technically, the province requires specialised hospital in Battagram, Charsadda, Hangu, and Chitral for kidney, hepatitis, diabetes and burns injuries,” said officials. However, the province wants to avail the opportunity and have more facilities at the expense of the federal government.
Published in Dawn, May 17th, 2017