A year after the first deadline was set by the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board and the Lok Adalat for setting up liquid bio-medical waste treatment plants in nine government hospitals, five of them are yet to set up the plants.
Under directions from the Lok Adalat, the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) issued closure orders to the nine hospitals — Victoria, Bowring, Vani Vilas, Minto, Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases (RGICD), K.C. General, Haji Sir Ismail Sait Ghosha, Jayanagar General and K.C. General Hospital — in June 2009 for not having scientific liquid bio-medical waste treatment plants. But following an appeal in July last year by heads of the departments of Health and Family Welfare and Medical Education, who sought seven months to set up the plants, the Lok Adalat asked the KSPCB to keep the closure orders in abeyance till February 13.
However, work actually started after the deadline passed.
Now the Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB), which was entrusted with the project in eight of the nine hospitals, and the State Government are likely to seek an extension of two more months from the Lok Adalat, which is scheduled to conduct its next hearing on June 11.
However, the plants are almost ready in three hospitals — Ghosha, Jayanagar General and K.C. General. While trial runs have started in the first two hospitals, the plant in K.C. General Hospital is likely to be commissioned for trials on June 10.
Medical Superintendent of K.C. General Hospital M. Vishwaradhya said the plant that will start trial runs from June 10 will treat 200 kilolitres of waste per day. “We will use the treated water for gardening and flushing toilets in the hospital. This is likely to reduce our water bills,” he said.
BWSSB Chief Engineer (Waste Water Management) S.M. Basavaraj said the delay was because of short supply of electro-mechanical material (pumps and motors) required for the plants.
He also said the hospitals delayed handing over land for the plants.
But sources in the hospitals said the company hired by the BWSSB to execute the project did not have adequate manpower.
“Although there were initial problems in identifying land for the treatment plants, we got the nurses quarters vacated on the premises of Victoria Hospital and land was handed over to the BWSSB in December. We have also released Rs. 3 crore to the BWSSB for the work. Yet, work is going on at a snail's pace,” a senior doctor in Victoria Hospital said.
While a plant being set up on the premises of Victoria Hospital will treat 1,200 kilolitres of waste generated per day from Victoria, Vani Vilas and Minto hospitals, individual plants are being set up on the premises of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital and RGICD.
They are likely to be ready by the end of July.