Silchar: A government hospital built at an expenditure of Rs 10 crore in southern Assam’s Cachar district has developed major cracks even before its inauguration, raising questions over the quality of the construction work.
The hospital Shibtilla model primary health centre (MPHC) in Bihara falls under the Katigorah assembly constituency in Cachar district, around 25 km from Silchar town.
The Shibtilla MPHC is basically an upgraded form of a community health centre in Bihara, which was previously known as Bihara community health centre.
The residents of around six gaon panchayats are dependent on the health facility for medical treatment-related purposes. The six gaon panchayats have around 60-70 villages which have a combined population of nearly 70,000-80,000.
Sources said the foundation stone for the Shibtilla model health centre was laid in December 2019 by former Katigorah BJP MLA Amar Chand Jain. A sum of Rs 10 crore was allocated by the state government in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
The construction work of the hospital has almost been completed, but cracks have developed in the building. Locals had apprised of the matter to Amar Chand Jain a few days ago following which Jain visited the health facility and found the cracks in the newly-constructed hospital building, the sources said.
Jain said, “I visited the health centre recently after being informed about the cracks by some locals and saw the cracks. I have communicated with an executive engineer of the public works department (PWD) Sushmita Deb. On Thursday, Deb inspected the health centre and found that plasters were pasted on a few portions of the building to repair the cracks.”
Post inspection, Sushmita Deb said the plasters will be removed to check if there are cracks on the walls. The structures will be razed and rebuilt if felt necessary, Deb said. The PWD’s executive engineer assured Jain about taking appropriate measures in this regard.
Locals, however, claimed that they had raised objections multiple times on the quality of the construction work right from the beginning of the project. “Materials, especially sands and stones, of substandard quality have been used for the construction of the health centre. We had raised our voice a number of times over the matter, but the authorities concerned paid no heed. As a result, cracks have appeared on the building even before its inauguration,” locals alleged.
H. Chakraborty, one of the residents, alleged that stones from rivers were used in constructing the health centre, whereas stones from crusher units were supposed to be used.
Blaming the PWD, another resident R. Acharya said the “negligence” of the PWD is the reason behind the poor quality work of the health centre. “Why the PWD did not form any monitoring committee of locals to ensure the project was done as per guidelines?” he questioned.
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Bishal Sarkar, the block Congress president of Kalain, sought the intervention of Cachar deputy commissioner Rohan Kumar Jha on the matter.
The residents further suspected that a portion of the fund sanctioned for the project had been embezzled and demanded that a high-level probe be conducted in this case.
They also demanded a proper enquiry so that all the facts related to the project such as the quality of materials used for the construction, and details of the sanctioned fund used for various works come to light.
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