Private building has been built on K.K. Nagar property; slum dwellers trespass

Before every election for the past decade, residents living around K.K. Nagar peripheral hospital have demanded that its services be improved.

The facility, under the control of Government Royapettah Hospital (GRH), was opened in 1979 and has a dedicated labour ward. However, the hospital refers women to the Chennai Corporation-run maternity centres in Kodambakkam and Shenoy Nagar.

According to S. Arumainathan, a resident of Virugambakkam, pregnant women in low income groups are beneficiaries under a government-sponsored cash scheme for new mothers that they can avail of at the Corporation-run centres. The scheme is not in operation in K.K. Nagar peripheral hospital.

Nearly a decade ago, a proposal to develop the facility as a trauma care centre was mooted, but the government has not yet approved it. Earlier this month, residents protested in front of the hospital after a patient alleged that he was denied treatment.

On Tuesday, residents will stage a road blockade to press for their demands. One of their complaints is poor maintenance of the hospital.

The hospital authorities, however, are grappling with several issues. A private building has encroached on the property. In April last year, a resident sought details about the building, under RTI, from the Public Works Department. The reply stated the land the building stands on has not been leased out by the government. The official further informed that there had been no complaint from hospital authorities about the presence of the building.

To a query about action against the encroacher, the reply stated that the hospital was the responsibility of PWD, health and revenue departments and no action had been taken against the encroacher. There was no threat from any politician either, the reply had stated.

“The government is aware of the issue. We often find the well and even the roof of the hospital being misused. People throw plastic covers into the toilets. They steal water pipes and even the concrete cover from the drainages. Slum dwellers have trespassed into the hospital land and are causing all the problems,” the hospital assistant engineer said.

The hospital recently constructed a compound wall around the well on its premises to prevent further misuse.

According to some PWD officials in charge of the hospital’s maintenance, the case pertaining to the private building is now in the Supreme Court. “We don’t know what decision the higher authorities have taken,” said an official.

The superintendent and the resident medical officer of GRH said they were unaware of the issue as ‘the file has not come’ to them.

Up until Monday evening, efforts to reach the secretary and chief engineer of the PWD were futile.

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