Cracks have appeared on the walls of the new building of Islampur subdivisional hospital within one month of its inauguration, posing a threat to patients, doctors and paramedical staff.
The hospital authorities are questioning the quality of the construction, which was undertaken by the state public works department.
"Rs 1 crore was spent to construct the two-storied building. It was formally opened last month and we have already noticed cracks on the walls," said a doctor posted at the hospital.
The building was handed over by the PWD to the health department three months ago. The health authorities then arranged for furniture and other equipment and readied the building for its functioning as the hospital. The building was inaugurated by state minister for library services and mass education extension Choudhury Abdul Karim in December.
The new building houses a 68-bed male ward and the office on the first floor. Hospital sources said there were plans to shift the female ward also to the first floor. "On the ground floor, we intend to open a trauma care unit, paediatric ward and gynaecological ward," said a source.
The health officials blamed the PWD for the cracks on the walls.
"The hospital authorities have already informed the PWD officials about the matter. We are waiting for their advice and necessary steps from their end," said Biplab Kanti Dasgupta, the chief medical officer of health of North Dinajpur.
Construction of the new building by a contractor had started in 2009 with the PWD monitoring the work.
"During the construction, questions were raised about the quality of the work. PWD officials, however, didn't pay heed," said a hospital source.
PWD officials admitted that there were cracks but ruled out the possibility of the walls' collapse. "The cracks that have developed on the walls are not from floor to ceiling but from one end of the wall to the other. So, the apprehension expressed by health authorities that the walls would collapse is not rational," said Sujit Das, the assistant engineer of the PWD in Islampur.
"We have not compromised the quality of work. Even then, we must admit that cracks have appeared on the walls and we are looking into the issue," he added.
Minister Choudhury expressed concern over the condition of the hospital building.
"It is not desirable to see such cracks in the new building which was built only a few months ago. I would ask the district health department and also the PWD to take necessary steps. If required, we would examine the quality of the construction," he said.