By Pandurang Mhaske & Somita Pal | Place: Mumbai | Agency: DNA
After months of protests by the Sion hospital staff, the BMC goes against their will and agrees to give 65,000 sq ft of hospital land for the Centre’s metro blood bank project.
To be tabled in the standing committee, the proposal has to be cleared in the next 10 days to meet the March 30 deadline.
Allaying fears of the hospital authorities, civic officials said that the project will not affect the hospital’s development. According to the officials, land will be left even after construction of the blood bank and floor space index (FSI) of 9,000 square metre will remain unexploited.
“There is a shortfall of 85,000 blood units. Considering the necessity of the city for the next 30-40 years, the metro blood bank is essential to meet the shortfall,” said Manisha Mhaiskar, additional municipal commissioner.
“We are preparing a draft and will present it in front of the standing committee soon. The metro blood bank requires only 16% of the permissible floor space index (FSI) for Sion hospital. We have succeeded in convincing the officials,” said Dr SS Kudalkar, in charge of the project for BMC.
The Sion hospital staff has been opposing the project as the hospital has departments in its basement area, students cramped in single rooms and an overflow of patients. Medha Patkar and her NGO had extended their support to the staff.
The Rs340-crore central project has received a portion of the money from World Bank in November 2008. The Centre had announced a scheme for technologically advanced blood bank and research centres in all the four metros.
The hospital staff feels that the BMC has enough funds and is capable of setting up a blood bank by itself. “There is no need to use the remaining FSI of the hospital for such a centre. Instead, it can be used for the hospital’s renovation,” said Sunil Chitnis, president of the staffers’ union.
A doctor from the hospital said, “None of the metro blood banks in the country are built inside hospital premises. We will challenge the decision in court if the corporation goes ahead with it.”