Multi super-speciality hospital on jail land: Doubts linger over State's commitment

Multi super-speciality hospital on jail land: Doubts linger over State’s commitment
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Multi super-speciality hospital on jail land: Doubts linger over State’s commitment

Highlights

State Government’s recent move to sell off its lands to tide over the financial crisis, and the dismantling of the Nizam-era Warangal Central Prison on the premise of building a multi super-speciality hospital have anything to correlate? Although it may not be apparent to conclude at this juncture, a handful of progressive thinkers and politicos raised a skeptical eyebrow over the government’s move, expressing concern that a major part of sprawling 60-acre prison land will be put on sale to fill the exchequer.

Warangal: State Government's recent move to sell off its lands to tide over the financial crisis, and the dismantling of the Nizam-era Warangal Central Prison on the premise of building a multi super-speciality hospital have anything to correlate? Although it may not be apparent to conclude at this juncture, a handful of progressive thinkers and politicos raised a skeptical eyebrow over the government's move, expressing concern that a major part of sprawling 60-acre prison land will be put on sale to fill the exchequer.

No one took it seriously when the Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao visited central jail coinciding with the MGM Hospital inspection on May 21. Then the CM decided to turn MGM Hospital into Mother and Health (MC) Centre and to construct a multi super-speciality hospital on jail land. Thereafter, in a fast-paced development, the government started shifting prisoners to other locations, and took up razing of jail structures.

The jail that has a glorious past of 135 years since the times of sixth Nizam of Hyderabad Mir Mahboob Ali Khan is one of the renowned prisons in two Telugu States. Warhorses like Kaloji Narayana Rao, Vara Vara Rao and many more distinguished personalities have spent their days for a cause. Barring the reconstructed elevation, the jail has barracks, watch tower and arms house etc – all belonging to yesteryears.

Forum for Better Warangal president Pulluru Sudhakar says, "No one in their right mind would object to the construction of a super-speciality hospital that people in the region dearly need. But selecting the central jail for the purpose is a huge mistake. It's a historical jail; moreover, it's a much-needed lung space, which is a rarity in urban areas." He predicted that there was a conspiracy to alienate this prime land to private persons.

Either MGM Hospital land or a part of jail land would come under the hammer in the name of development, he predicted."Telangana government is likely to convert part of this land to augment its finances. It may, in fact, come with a model where a private developer is asked to develop hospital buildings in exchange for prime urban land," Dr Donti Narasimha Reddy, a public policy expert, said. History buff Aravind Arya Pakide said, "Some of the constructions in the prison - watch tower, arms house, barracks etc - represent the heritage of bygone era. The government should, at least, try to protect those structures. Before demolishing, the jail history should be documented with its pictures that were not available on public domain."

"How one would believe the State Government, which dilly dallied to release its share of funds (Rs 30 crore) to PMSSY Super-speciality Hospital, predominantly funded by the Centre, that came up on Kakatiya Medical College (KMC) premises. Multi super-speciality is a hoopla to hide the real motive of the government. A major portion of the prison land would go into the hands of benamis of ruling party leaders, Naini said, referring to the fate of TSRTC's tyre retreading centre which was given to a top TRS leader.

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