Government Medical College and Hospital burns its fingers in solar power project
Government Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) has been caught on the wrong foot. It planned a solar power project and started executing it without state government’s administrative approval. It even appointed Kanyaka Non-Conventional Energy Pvt Ltd as consultant without following the tendering process. The authorities even began to demolish an abandoned structure for the project without the Public Works Department (PWD) permission, before better sense prevailed.
Minister for energy and renewable energy Chandrashekhar Bawankule said GMCH was wrong in appointing a consultant and preparing the DPR at this stage. Bawankule told TOI, “The government had received a proposal, but the project is not viable, so approval has not been given yet.”
GMCH authorities claim the 7MW solar power project will be set up mostly on 15 acre land in its TB ward premises, with a part on the 7 acre roof of the hospital building. The power will be supplied to the dental college and super speciality hospital.
Bawankule said, “The 7MW project will require about 35 acre roof area, which GMCH does not have. They will have to up solar panels on land in some forest, which will require funds, and hence will not be viable.”
Bawankule also pointed out that the government’s own city-based company MahaUrja has many consultants. “It’s mandatory to take MahaUrja’s permission before taking any steps. GMCH should not have appointed a private consultant without our knowledge or tried to prepare a DPR,” he said.
When TOI visited the TB ward, it was clear GMCH had started demolishing a structure by removing tin sheets on its roof. However, the work stopped after PWD sent them a notice.
GMCH dean Dr Abhimanyu Niswade admitted the work started without approvals. He said, “The structure was anyway abandoned and had to be dismantled. But it’s logical for PWD to stop the work since we are yet to receive approval.”
On appointing a consultant, Dr Niswade said, “The project has been adopted by the central government. Since we do not have state approvals, no tendering was done. The consultant was not officially appointed; but volunteered to map the project and prepare DPR. Moreover, Kanyaka has been recommended by the central government.”
Dr Niswade said the project will cost around Rs22 crore, however, the state medical education and drugs department wrote to the Directorate of Medical Education and Research that the project will cost about Rs50 crore.
Dr Niswade also said the entire project is being funded by the central government, and district planning department (DPD) will fund a small part of it. He told TOI, Maharashtra Energy Development Agency (MEDA) is supporting the initiative. However, this claim was contradicted by Bawankule.