Sindri: The 250-bed Sindri Fertilizer Factory (SFF) hospital, which is lying defunct for 17 years, has recently piqued curiosity of investors in the healthcare sector.
The SFF hospital, the foundations of which were laid in 1953 by the then Union health minister Rajkumari Amrit Kaur, closed in 2003.
Equipped with separate wards for male and female, surgery, medicine, gynecology and an airconditioned pediatrics ward, the hospital also had two operation theaters for minor and major surgeries, a state-of-the-art blood bank, pathology and physiotherapy facilities. With its closure in 2003, Sindri’s 40,000-odd population became completely dependent on the healthcare infrastructure in Dhanbad.
However, the pandemic has come as a silver lining for the defunct hospital. Since the pandemic broke out in March, several companies have expressed their interest to take over the facility and make it operational.
Now Hindustan Urvarak and Rasayan Ltd (HURL), a company that has been set up at the premises of the closed Sindri fertilizer factory, is reportedly interested in running the hospital with the help of Durgapur Mission Hospital.
A Dhanbad-based industrialist and JMM functionary has also approached chief minister Heman Soren for running the hospital on a private-public partnership mode. Earlier, a Buddhist trust and a trust running a super-specialty hospital in Dhanbad had also approached the factory management for allotting the hospital to them.
When asked, the unit in-charge of Sindri fertilizer factory, Ravi Kant Prasad, said that he has no powers to transfer the factory property to any organization without the approval of the competent authorities of FCI corporate office.
“This is nothing but privatizing the hospital through the backdoors,” Ashok Prasad, the general secretary of the local unit of Bhartiya Mazdoor Sangh, said, adding that they would allow handing it over to a private firm only if free medical facility is provided to the residents of the town.
Echoing similar sentiments, Sewa Singh, the president of the All India FCI VSS Employees Association, said that the HURL management had assured free medical assistance to the former employees and their family members and it should honour its promises.