CHITRAL: A 250-bed hospital announced by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif during his visit to Chitral in Sept 2016 has been shelved as the provincial government failed to provide the required 75 acres of land on the ground of its unavailability.
Knowledgeable sources in the health department said the provincial government had demanded a hefty amount of Rs320 million from the federal government for purchase of land, while as per criterion of the former prime minister’s health programme, it was the liability of the province concerned to provide the land.
They said when pressed hard the provincial government asked the federal government to consider construction of a specialised hospital for heart diseases in upper Chitral instead of general hospital claiming the DHQ hospital was fully functional and there was no need of any other such hospital.
The correspondence between Peshawar and Islamabad on the hospital project went on till the last six months of the PML-N government in which the federal government kept reiterating its demand of being provided free land for executing the project, the sources maintained.
The prime minister’s health programme for federal-funded hospitals is no more due to financial crunch and like some districts of the province, the people of Chitral should forget about the hospital, they said.
The sources said Chitral was one of the 14 districts throughout the country, where a hospital was to be built under the programme.
A senior doctor, who recently got retired, termed shelving of the hospital project a colossal loss to the people of Chitral and said as per blueprint of the proposed hospital, it was going to be state-of-the-art facility.
He said the project could have been saved by the provincial government by allotting state land in Kagh Lasht.
District nazim Maghfirat Shah said the project was politicised by those at the helm of affairs in the province.
He said the DHQ hospital was in worst state as 21 posts of specialist doctors and 54 posts of medical officers had been lying vacant.
“The severity of the problem could be gauged from the fact that even for CT scan and MRI the patients are sent to Peshawar,” he said.
Former MNA Shahzada Iftikharuddin said after the refusal of the province to give land for the hospital, he had tried his best to convince the federal government for including cost of land in the PC-I of the project, but to no avail.
Published in Dawn, November 30th, 2018