Granting environmental clearance to the State government's plan to modify the Assembly building on Anna Salai into a multi-super-specialty hospital, the State Environment Impact Assessment Authority (SEIAA) has asked the Public Works Department to ensure there is no pollution during the conversion process.

The Authority, headed by V. Thangavelu, gave environmental clearance to the project at a recent meeting. It stated that as the facility was being converted to a hospital, utmost care must be taken in handling and disposing of biomedical waste. During the construction, disposal of waste must be done properly so that there was no pollution of air, water and soil.

Bio-medical wastes

The SEIAA debated on a report submitted by the State Expert Appraisal Committee headed by T. Balasubramanian, Director and Dean, Centre of Advanced Study in Marine Biology, Annamalai University. During the period of construction and during the functioning of the hospital, the Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board would monitor proper disposal of biomedical waste.

At the Committee's recent meeting, the PWD explained the proposals for sewage treatment and disposal of biomedical wastes.

Sources in the PWD said the environmental clearance given by the SEIAA was the last in the list of statutory clearances required for the project. Already, a no-objection certificate from the Fire and Rescue Services Department has been obtained. Planning permission was under process at the Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority and expected soon.

“We are yet to receive the official copy of the order. Once we obtain it, we will file it in the Madras High Court and take steps to get the stay vacated,” the PWD official said.

The court had stayed the proposal to modify the Assembly-cum-Secretariat complex into a hospital until it got statutory environmental clearances.

Just nine months

Officials say once the project gets the go ahead, it will take the PWD only nine months to carry out structural alterations to the building and turn it into a 500-bed hospital.

Besides ramps and necessary lighting, the rooms have to be remodelled for operation theatres. Oxygen circuit lines will have to be provided. Various options about the use of the Assembly hall, including turning it into a conference hall, are under consideration, said sources in the department.

Block A is also likely to have diagnostic laboratories and dedicated space for operation theatres.

Medical college

The public plaza could be used as a reception area of the hospital. The PWD is scrutinising bids for the project worth Rs.26.92 crore.

The government is also in the process of seeking environment clearance separately for Block B in which it plans to establish a medical college.