National AIDS Control Society authorities say funds for the Mumbai project will be released only on completion of the Delhi and Chennai projects
Authorities from the National AIDS Control Society (NACO) have said that Mumbai will have to wait for two more years for a state-of-the-art Metro blood bank project at the LTMG Hospital, Sion, and the delay has escalated even the cost of the Rs 340-crore project by Rs 60-70 crore. The officials confirmed that the revolutionary project, which is supposed to change the face of blood transfusion services in the country through four sentinel blood banks in Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata and Mumbai, will be carried out in phases. They said funds for Mumbai will be released only on the completion of Delhi and Chennai Metro blood banks. Hence, though the state government approved the project back in 2011, the future of the Mumbai Metro blood bank lies on the funds released by the Central Government, and leftover funds from the ongoing projects at Delhi and Chennai.
BMC and Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) authorities are clueless about the cause of delay, which has postponed the project by four years. The deputy director general of NACO says left over funds from Delhi and Chennai blood banks and funds sanctioned by the state government will be released for Mumbai and Kolkata projects. Pic/Getty Images
The state governments of Delhi, Maharashtra, West Bengal and Tamil Nadu had identified land for the construction of these centres. However, BMC and Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) authorities are clueless about the cause of delay, which has postponed the project by four years. NACO authorities, speaking to mid-day said that they have run out of funds for the Mumbai project, it is not even scheduled to start soon.
Mumbai will have to wait
Dr R S Gupta, Deputy Director General, NACO confirmed that funds for Delhi and Chennai projects have been released in 2015, and Mumbai would have to wait for its turn. “We are releasing funds phase wise and Mumbai and Kolkata are in the second phase of the project. For this year, NACO has no funds to propel the Mumbai project, and it will take at least two years for the Central Government to release the funds. After two years, on the completion of Delhi and Chennai projects, left over funds from both the blood banks and funds sanctioned by the state government will be released for the Mumbai and Kolkata projects,” said Gupta.
The BMC, with Mumbai District AIDS Control Society (MDACS) authorities, had zeroed down on LTMG hospital for the project after the state government approved it on July 15, 2011. While MDACS officials confirmed that they have fulfilled all the necessary requirements, they are yet to purchase the equipment and start selection of employees as NACO, being the central authority, is yet to release the funds.
Responding to an RTI query made by a doctor, officials from MDACS confirmed that a piece of land, amassing 5,610 sq m has been sanctioned for the project. At the same time, the construction plans of the blood bank have been approved by NACO and BMC.
Dr Srikala Acharya, director of MDACS, said that the project will provide advanced facility for blood testing and component separation. “The blood bank will open new doors for students willing to specialise in the field of blood transfusion. The advanced technology of the blood bank will not only promise high end blood collection results but it will also provide the component separation and blood processing facilities,” said Acharya.