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Why is AIIMS Kashmir Still Incomplete, Report

Two highly-anticipated projects of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) were approved simultaneously for Jammu and Kashmir in 2019. While the operations at AIIMS Jammu have started following its inauguration by Prime Minister Narendra Modi last month, the AIIMS project in Awantipora in Kashmir valley is lagging far behind completion, with approximately 45-50 percent of the work still pending.

Officials informed that the deadline for the completion of AIIMS Awantipora is January 2025, but nearly half of the work remains unfinished. “It seems the AIIMS Awantipora won’t be completed soon. If the government wants to complete this ambitious project on time, then there is a need to work in double shifts,” they said, adding, “Over the past five years, only around 50 percent of the AIIMS Awantipora project has been completed. The authorities have a daunting task of finishing the remaining work within the next 11 months.”

Locals from Awantipora and neighbouring areas have urged the government to expedite the project’s completion by December to alleviate their suffering due to the lack of treatment options for various diseases. They also demanded a probe to know why the delay in the project.

Expressing disappointment over the unequal progress, locals said both projects should have been completed simultaneously. “The people of Kashmir are suffering more for the want of treatments as compared to Jammu who have easy options to visit the AIIMS Delhi,” the locals said, adding that the government should have given priority to AIIMS Awantipora.

Meanwhile, officials working on the AIIMS Awantipora project said the work is going in full swing and will be completed by January 2025. However, they said the project faced various challenges, including legal disputes over land acquisition, the aftermath of Article 370 abrogation, issues with nearby military installations, adverse weather conditions and the COVID-19 pandemic, which have hampered progress.

Despite these hurdles, officials said the project has gained momentum over the past year. The government has set a deadline of December 31, 2024, for the project’s completion.

The AIIMS was approved by the Central government in 2019 at an estimated cost of Rs 1,828 crore. The project entails the construction of approximately 57 buildings, including a hospital, hostels, residential quarters, a football ground, tennis courts, and gardens with medicinal plants, among other facilities. The institute will add 1,000 beds to its current capacity in Kashmir, including 300 super-speciality beds. The ambitious project also includes a Medical College with a capacity of 100 students and a Nursing College with a capacity of 60 students.

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