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B. Aravind Kumar & T. Ramakrishnan, The Hindu / CHENNAI, August 19, 2011.
A VIEW FROM THE HINDU: From the seat of power to a centre for public healthcare. Photo: S.R. Raghunathan - The Hindu.
Against the backdrop of growing public demand that the abandoned Assembly-Secretariat complex be put to productive public use, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Friday announced that her government had decided to house a multi-super specialty hospital-cum-medical college in the complex on the Omandurar Government Estate.
Ms. Jayalalithaa told the Assembly amid thumping of desks by members that facilities in the proposed hospital would be comparable to those at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi.
Conceived by the previous Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) regime, the Assembly-Secretariat complex project consisted of two blocks — Block A to accommodate the Assembly and offices of Chief Minister and Ministers and six departments, and Block B for other departments.
Estimated to cost Rs. 1,092 crore totally, the project had other components. Its execution came to a halt after the All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam government, which took office three months ago, announced in June that a Commission of Inquiry would be constituted into the alleged irregularities in the construction. At the time of suspension of work, approximately Rs. 480 crore was spent on the seven-storey Block A of 97,829 square metres. Around Rs. 80 crore was spent on Block B with eight storeys and 73,399 square meters.
Reading out a statement under Rule 110, the Chief Minister said the hospital would come up in Block A and the medical college in Block B. The decision to locate the hospital in Block A, she said, was made with a view to putting the building, which now remained unused, for the benefit of the poor.
The proposed hospital will be thrown open to the public soon after carrying out suitable modifications to the building, appointing medical experts, nurses and technicians and the procurement of the state-of-the-art equipment.
The Chief Minister explained that the building — Block A — was inadequate to house the Assembly and 36 departments, which were now functioning at Fort St. George. Its space was very limited and the design unfit for official work. The secretariat could not be functioning from two different buildings. This was why the Assembly and the secretariat were located at Fort St. George (again), she added.
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