VISAKHAPATNAM: Is Visakha Institute of Medical Sciences (VIMS), a referral hospital of the region in the making, being given to private developers?
Private players are eyeing the hospital since it had remained a non- starter after it was commissioned about four years ago. The government had constructed six blocks in 4.2 lakh sq ft. So far it has not become a full-fledged hospital with works relating to it going on at a painfully slow pace.
Only recently, after going through several bottlenecks, tenders were called for procurement of medical equipment at a cost of Rs 30 crore.
It was the then chief minister YS Rajasekhara Reddy who sanctioned the VIMS with a project cost of Rs 600 crore and allotted 110 acres of land near Hanumanthawaka Junction in 2007. Noted Orthopaedic Surgeon KV Subba Rao was appointed director of VIMS. After Rajasekhara Reddy laid the foundation stone, construction work began on a war footing in 4.3 lakh sq ft and was completed in 2010. Later, for various reasons neither K Rosaiah nor N Kiran Kuma Reddy released funds to complete the project.
Now there is a buzz in the government that private players would be roped in to complete the project in PPP mode. When similar proposal was floated during the Congress dispensation, the TDP which was in the Opposition then, vowed to fight any attempts to privatise the hospital.
“The region badly requires VIMS. It has been sanctioned as a referral hospital as the KGH is always crowded. We have information that the government is trying to privatise the VIMS. Because of the abnormal delay in the completion of the VIMS, the project cost has gone up to Rs 870 crore. We will oppose any attempt to privatise VIMS. We will meet principal secretary LV Subrahmanyam who is coming to the city Wednesday and argue against privatisation,” former Deputy Mayor K Doarababu said.
Dorababu said the suspicion that it would be privatised is further strengthened with the government allocating just Rs 4 crore to VIMS. In fact the Congress government had sanctioned Rs 30 crore for procurement of the equipment, Dorababu added.
Meanwhile, the VIMS is in need of Rs 32 crore for appointing staff and payment of salaries for one year. Initially seven departments were proposed to start in the first phase.
“We want the VIMS to be developed on the lines of NIMS as early as possible,” former Congress corporators P Vijayachander and PMurty Yadav said.
When contacted, VIMS director KV Subba Rao said: “Tenders have been called for procurement of equipment on March 26. The Medical Infrastructure Development Corporation will procure the equipment and allot it to the VIMS.”
15 Super Speciality Wards
- VIMS proposed to be developed in 12.5 lakh sq ft built-up area.
- Total extent of land allotted: 110 acres.
- Completed built-up area 4.5 lakh sq ft
- Proposed Project: 15 super specialty wards, medical college.