The 551-bed hospital built by Tata Group in Kasargod has started treating Covid patients. According to a statement issued by the State government, arrangements have been made to provide all kinds of treatments at the hospital.
According to Health Minister KK Shailaja, the government has created 191 posts, including 40 doctors, for the hospital. The hospital currently has only two doctors on its rolls, but recruitment to the posts is still in progress, said the minister. Although the facility was handed over to the State government on September 9, the hospital was inaugurated on October 28. There were widespread public protests over the delay in inaugurating the hospital, which was designed to cater to Covid patients.
Due to a delay in opening the Tata facility on time and thanks to a steady increase in the number of Covid patients, authorities turned the Medical College Hospital in Kasargod’s Ukkinadka into a Covid-19 facility. This inconvenienced non-Covid patients. People’s Action Committee, a civil society group, said that it would go on an indefinite hunger strike on November 2 demanding that the District Hospital be restored to its former status. At the same time, Lok Sabha Member Rajmohan Unnithan had decided to go on an indefinite strike on November 1 if the Tata institute hadn’t opened by then.
The Tata hospital, built with basic facilities at a cost of Rs 60 crore, was constructed by Tata Group as part of their CSR initiative. Spread across more than two acres, the hospital was designed as an isolation and quarantine centre for Covid patients. It was made of 128 disconnected shipping containers. Senior health officials said it would take a few months to operationalise the Tata-built structure into a full-fledged hospital with operation theatres and intensive care units. Reportedly, some believe that the opening had been done under intense pressure since there is a lot to be done before converting the facility into a hospital.