After AIIMS’ fiasco, Bihar govt okays mega plan to develop DMCH

The state cabinet has approved the health department’s proposal to build 2,100-bed medical facility for Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital at the cost of ₹2,546.41 crore


Patna: Days after the Central government rejected the 189-acre site for construction of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga, terming it as ‘unsuitable’, the Bihar government has decided to upgrade and develop the existing Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital (DMCH) as 2,500-bed super specialty hospital.

The state cabinet at its meeting chaired by Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar approved the state health and medical sciences department’s proposal to enhance the infrastructure of the DMCH substantially and equip it with ultra-modern medical equipment to tackle the load of patients, who otherwise have to go to Patna for treatment.

Additional chief secretary, cabinet, S Siddharth told media persons after the meeting that state cabinet has okayed the health department’s proposal to construct 2,100-bed building for the DMCH at the cost of ₹2,546.41 crore. “This will be in addition to 400-bed surgical block in the DMCH, the construction of which is already going on at the cost of around ₹569-crore,” said Siddharth, adding that the cabinet approved the proposal for new buildings of DMCH based on the preliminary detailed project report (DPR) submitted by the Bihar Medical Services and Infrastructure Corporation Limited.

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Information and public relations (IPRD) minister Sanjay Kumar Jha, in a press statement issued later, said that the government has decided to develop the existing DMCH on the pattern of Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH) an equip it with all state-of-the-art equipment and trained manpower to provide world-class treatment to the people of North Bihar.

Upcoming building of surgical ward of DMCH

Expressing his gratitude to the CM and deputy CM Tejashwi Prasad Yadav to approve rebuilding the DMCH as a well-equipped super specialty hospital, Jha, who hails from Mithilanchal region, said that the Nitish Kumar government would not let the people suffer due to ‘petty politics’ resorted to by the Narendra Modi-led BJP dispensation at the Centre by declining the land allotted for construction of the AIIMS.

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The IPRD minister Jha wondered how and why the Central government team, who during their visit to Darbhanga on April 29 had liked the plot, suddenly rejected the same plot for the AIIMS. “The state government has already sanctioned ₹309 crore for earth-filling on 189-acre land and proposed to provide four-lane road connectivity to the upcoming hospital,” said the minister.

Centre rejects land allotted for building AIIMS at Darbhanga

The Union ministry of health and family welfare has rejected the new site proposed by the Bihar government for setting up Bihar’s second AIIMS in Darbhanga, terming the plot as “unsuitable” and requested the state government to provide an alternative land for the project.

Union secretary, ministry of health and family welfare, Rajesh Bhushan has written a letter to the additional chief secretary, health, Bihar, Pratyaya Amrit, citing several reasons said that building the AIIMS on the allotted land would be complex.

This is the second time the site for the project has courted trouble. Earlier, the state government had handed over 81 acres of land on the campus of DMCH after the state cabinet granted nod for transfer of 200 acres of DMCH land for the proposed AIIMS in November 2021.

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CM Nitish Kumar during his visit to Darbhanga on January 12, 2023, had announced that the project will be shifted to a better accessible location. Later, on April 3, 2023, the Bihar’s health department sent a letter to the Union ministry informing it about an alternative land at Ekmi-Shobhan bypass.

Referring to the letter from Amrit, the Union ministry in its latest missive has said that a team of officials from the ministry concerned, after its visit to the proposed site on April 27, 2023, had submitted a report outlining potential disadvantages associated with the new location. “According to the report submitted by the technical team, the proposed land is a low-lying area, approximately 7 meters below the approach road, requiring extensive earth filling of more than 10 meters to make it suitable for construction,” the letter said.

“The challenge of obtaining a substantial quantity of good quality soil for filling and compacting the entire area of approximately 151 acres, which may not be readily available in the vicinity of Darbhanga. This could lead to increased project costs and a time-consuming process,” it said.

“The report said that the existing soil at the proposed site has swelling and shrinkage characteristics, raising concerns about the compaction and uniformity of the filled material. This instability could pose a serious threat to the structural integrity of the built infrastructure,” the letter said.

Citing the contents of the letter, a senior officer said that the soil quality of the proposed site was of poor engineering characteristics. “After filling the land, a ground improvement technique might be required, further adding to the project cost. The possibility of water logging in the surrounding lowland areas if structures are built on filled-up land, exacerbated by the low permeability of the natural ground surface layer,” it added.

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