In a written response to Sergithang-Tsirangtoe MP Novin Darlami, the Ministry of Health (MoH) has stated that the construction of Tsirang hospital was executed as per the approved design, and that it will have a total of 40 beds. 

The MP had requested the health minister for a written answer on the controversy over how many beds the hospital would have once it is completed. 

The Royal Audit Authority (RAA) in May this year had reflected the hospital as 20-bed during the audit. The authority then asked the ministry to justify how the 40-bed hospital was reduced by half the approved capacity.  

According to the ministry’s written answer to the MP, the 40 beds, as claimed by the ministry, include those in all the units in the hospital. 

The 40 beds include the 21 in the ward, nine in the emergency unit, two in the isolation unit, four in the cabins, three in the intensive care unit and one in the operation theatre recovery room. 

Signed by health secretary Dr Ugen Dophu, the health ministry’s response states that the construction “commenced in May 2015 and the project (was) completed in May 2018”. 

However, Kuensel learnt that the construction works are still ongoing and is expected to take longer. The completion deadline was extended to the end of this month on the contractor’s request although the initial deadline was May. 

The ministry’s answer states that when the initial planning and designing works began in 2009, the scope of the project was for 20 beds. 

“However, as the work on the drawing and design advanced, through several rounds of consultation with specialists, it was decided that the hospital be constructed as 40-bed,” the health ministry stated. 

The construction, the health ministry, stated was executed as per the drawing submitted to the GNH Commission and the fund approved. 

The decision to increase the number of beds from the initial plan was also endorsed by the GNH Commission and the Ministry of Health on February 2, 2015. Accordingly, the government allocated a fund of Nu 254 million under the Government of India project tied assistance. 

The hospital, the ministry states, also has additional facilities such as a medical store, a laundry unit and drying shed, a mortuary and a waste segregation store among others. 

The RAA had made a comparison of architectural drawings during the audit of the construction.  

It found that the 40-bed Samtse hospital was estimated at Nu 199.69M and tendered for Nu 226.446M. While the 20-bed Tsirang hospital was estimated for Nu 228.768M and tendered at Nu 225.611M.

The RAA had observed that this shows that the construction of the 20-bed Tsirang hospital was costing at par with the cost of 40-bed Samtse hospital, which has double the number of floors and room sizes.

The RAA also noted a difference of 3,965.42sqm in the floor areas and 547.4sqm in the room sizes of the two hospitals.

MB Subba