2-yrs on, reconstruction of GMC’s drug store building approved

Harry Walia. Updated: 4/7/2021 11:08:28 AM Front Page

Jammu: The main Drug and General Store building at Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu is set to be demolished and reconstructed after it got damaged beyond repairs in an infamous fire incident that occurred a little over two years ago.
“After the fire incident, the drug store was temporarily shifted to the Ground Floor of Col Chopra Nursing Home so that the patient care does not suffer, which, however has been insufficient especially during the COVID 19 pandemic. Also, the nursing home has to be vacated for upgradation work. Thus, it is imperative and urgent for GMC to have its own Drug Store in the premises for storing of the vital drugs, surgical items, machinery, equipments etc,” says an official from GMC Jammu.
“In addition to that, adequate medical supplies and drugs need to be stored in such a premier institution for patients being treated under GOI's Ayushman Bharat scheme as it envisages cash free treatment and the hospital is supposed to provide free medicines,” he adds.
He asserts that following the reports submitted by concerned committees, GMC Jammu seeks to reconstruct the damaged building. Investigating Agency, where the case is still being looked into, has recently granted the NOC for the same.
Pertinently, the devastating fire had gutted medicines worth crores, important records and ruined the building housing the drug and general store on 17th February 2019, following which FIR was registered in Police Station Bakshi Nagar vide no. 28/2019 u/s 436 RPC. Later, the case was transferred to the Crime Branch Jammu for the purpose of investigation.
Besides, a Departmental Enquiry Committee was constituted by the then Principal GMC Jammu vide office order no. GMC/19/order/committee/3013 dated 14-03-2019 to assess the loss of drugs, surgical & other consumables items, while another committee was constituted by the Chief Engineer PW(R&B) Department Jammu vide no. CEJ/PS/Meeting/9010-16 dated 09-10-2019 to assess the damage to the Drug Store Building.
The reports of both the committees have been submitted, vide no. GMC/BIO/20/941 dated 12-03-2020 and no. PWD/CEJ/PS/2019/Meeting/9052-58 dated 11-10-2019 respectively.
Some of the observations submitted in these reports were – “Fire has gutted almost everything, and the brunt is even visible on the concrete walls and ceilings. Most of the columns and beams of Drug Store Building have lost their strength, some of these have been damaged beyond repairs, and surface concrete is crumbling at many locations.”
“Keeping in view the above facts the committee is of the opinion that the entire building should be demolished and reconstructed with the new required functional utility. The scarce availability of the space shall be more effectively utilized by raising a new multi-storey building in place of existing damaged two storey building, keeping in view the future needs and requirements,” read the report by Chief Engineer PW(R&B) Department Jammu.
Likewise, the Departmental Enquiry Committee suggested, “Every General as well as Drug store of the GMC and Associated Hospitals should strictly follow the standard operative procedures as per the current protocols issued by the concerned agencies i.e Indian Drugs and Cosmetic Act 1940 for the safety of material; Adequate Security including installation of CCTV cameras should be the priority in managing the stores; Effective and the latest smoke/fire fighting systems should be installed from the experts in the field; All the electrical fittings should get a clearance certificate from the concerned department; Stores should not be allotted space whichever and wherever available to avoid recurrence of such unwarranted episodes in near future.”
Further, the Medical Superintendent vide letter no. MCH/20/763-67 dated 07-05-2020 had requested for the writing of the Drugs and other material amounting to Rs. 3,73,51,746.83 (in words) and the re-construction of Drugs and General Store. He had also informed that drugs and other materials damaged due to fire can be the cause of the infections thereby creating unhygienic conditions within the premises and is required to be written off.
Accordingly, Shashi Sudhan Sharma, Principal and Dean GMC Jammu, wrote to Crime Branch Jammu, where the case is under investigation, for the issuance of NOC which is a pre-requisite to take up the project for reconstruction of the building with the Administrative Department.
The Crime Branch Jammu, subsequently, granted NOC vide no. CBJ/R/FIR/29/2019/Bkn/9809 dated 27-03-2021.
“The examination of the fire incident site is complete and nothing more is required to be collected from the building in question. Moreover, the building in question was never sealed in the case and was always in possession of GMC. However, this office has no objection if the building is demolished/reconstructed,” stated Addl Superintendent of Police, Crime Branch Jammu in the letter.
It should be mentioned here that the drug store building was constructed by JKPCC at a cost amounting to Rs. 453.00 Lacs and was inaugurated on 18th October 2014. The same building housed the office of Jammu and Kashmir Medical Supply Corporation Limited (JKMSCL) on the first floor, while the main drug store was on the ground floor. It has been a witness to another fire incident in 2016.

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