Assembly complex to house hospital

Karunas dream project will be utilised in serving the poor: Jaya

The oval-shaped seven-storey building on Chennai’s arterial Anna Salai, designed by the Hamburg-headquartered global architect firm GMP, will soon become a state-run multi super-specialty hospital.

The hospital will be for the benefit of the common people, particularly the poor and the economically weaker sections for whom top-end specialty health care is still unaffordable.

Making the “historic” announcement in the Assembly on Friday, Chief Minister J Jayalalitha said her government has decided to convert the new complex into a high-tech medical hospital to ensure that the massive structure “is put to use in a manner that benefited the common people the most.”

The complex, planned in two stages—Block ‘A’ (most of which has been completed but for the central dome resembling the upper part of the huge Temple chariot of Thiruvarur, the home turf of Karunanidhi) and ‘Block-B’ to house various offices of the state Secretariat— is estimated to cost a whopping Rs 1,100 crore.

The new complex was inaugurated by UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on, March 13, 2010, even before its construction was completed.

The earlier DMK regime had also held a full Budget session there. But the Jayalalitha government has been functioning from the historic Fort St Ge­orge, which houses the old Assembly-cum-Secretariat, right from the beginning of the term.

The few departments that had moved to the new complex were directed to immediately shift back to their original premises and the old Assembly Hall was quickly revived.

Insufficient space

Jayalalitha in a suo motu statement in the House said ‘Block A’ of the new Assembly complex, measuring 97,829 square metre, was insufficient to accommodate all the 36 government departments.

“It was also not possible to function from two places, with the ministers’ offices in the Assembly and the departmental secretaries separated by a distance of two km,” she said, justifying her decision to function from Fort St George.

The ‘Block B’ that was coming up in the new complex area will be utilised to house a new government medical college adjacent to the super-specialty hospital complex, the chief minister said.

Suitable modifications will also be made in Block A to fit in the requirements of a large public hospital with the latest diagnostic techniques and other facilities, she said, adding that the move will be on top of efforts to better the state’s health system.

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