Fighting for their greenspace, UCMS Medicos, GTB Doctors protest against Hospital building
New Delhi: Protesting against the construction of a new COVID facility in the Guru Teg Bahadur (GTB) Hospital premises, more than 100 medical students, teachers, residents of the GTB complex, and non-teaching staff held a peaceful gathering in the campus on around 1 p.m. yesterday.
The doctors raised their objection to the Delhi Government's decision to build a new hospital dedicated for COVID, at the playground adjacent to the medical college pointing out that the field is a rich bio-diverse area and also the only place for rejuvenation for the GTB residents. Further, the marked area is also a part of the medical institute, and all kinds of activities including fest, award ceremonies are held in that place.
Thus, the University College of Medical Sciences (UCMS) Students' Union recently wrote to the Delhi Government including the Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal requesting the Government to shift the project in a nearby area.
Medical Dialogues had recently reported that this stand of the students have been supported by the teachers as well. In fact the Teachers' Association of UCMS also wrote to Health Minister Satyendar Jain with the same request. "We, the faculty of UCMS, appreciate and support this initiative of developing Covid- dedicated infrastructure in East Delhi. However, we find that the ... proposed site of the building will damage the rich biodiverse green area..., when in fact there is availability of land (under the Delhi Government) in the nearby areas," the letter to Jain said.
Taking the objection to the next level, yesterday around 100 medical students organized a peaceful gathering for the cause.
"A peaceful gathering as a form of protest, to show solidarity to mother nature and address the issue of loss of biodiversity in the GTB Campus took place today at 1.00 p.m. in front of The Central Field, GTB Campus. More than 100 medical students, teachers, resident of GTB complex, non teaching staff attended the protest," UCMS Studnet's Union mentioned in a press release.
"The protest was led by The Students Union, UCMS and GTB Hospital, many associations including Teachers association, Resident Welfare Association, Resident doctors association, FORDA, Karamchari Union came in support of the protest," mentioned the release.
"We support the making of a covid dedicated hospital in the area, but the request the Delhi Government to consider the biodiversity loss, medical recognition of the college and relocate the hospital in the adjacent vicinity," the students clarified in the release.
UNI adds that the expansion project, a ground plus 4 storey building, is a part of the Delhi government's preparation against the third wave of COVID-19.
The Kejriwal government has planned to add 7,000 ICU beds at select Delhi government-run hospitals in view of an impending third wave of Covid-19
According to the plan, a total of 1,430 beds will be added in the Shalimar Bagh Government Hospital, 458 at the Kirari Government Hospital, 1,912 at the GTB Hospital, 1,565 beds in Raghubir Nagar, 610 beds at CNBC, Geeta Colony, 525 beds at the Sultanpuri hospital
However, the students have clearly stated that they are not against the Government's plan of building an additional COVID facility. Dr. Ramansh Bandhu, the President of the Students' Union of UCMS clarified the same and said, "We are doctors and we are aware of the necessity for building a COVID facility and we totally support the Government's initiative on that matter. However, in the nearby vicinity there are other available places as well where hospital could be built."
"The main concern was that if the hospital is built in that area, whatever green and biodiverse area we have in the GTB complex will be lost. Further, the hospital will be built within a 20-meter distance from the resident hostels, In fact, the doors of the girls' hostel and nursing hostel will be within 50-meter distance from the planned site. Also, as per the MCI regulations, a medical college must have a ground for being recognized as a medical college. we are concerned that if our playground gets converted into a hospital, tomorrow the recognition of our medical college might also be questioned. Lastly, this one field is all we have for holding fest activities, Award ceremonies, and alumni meet. So, the doctors will lose even the little time and space that we get for rejuvenation.
He mentioned that till now they haven't received any response from the Government. When asked about the future plans regarding their stand, he said, "we are hoping for a positive response from the Government and the best we can hope is that we get to discuss the issue with any stakeholders or ministry officials."
The Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA) has also expressed its solidarity with the students regarding the matter. While commenting on the matter, Dr. Kulsaurabh Kaushik, Joint Secretary of FORDA said, "We on behalf of the students urge govt and authorities to kindly reconsider the decision and find an alternative place for the healthcare set up so that students at UCMS don't get devoid of their only existing ground which is used for different sought of recreational activities by the medical students."