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Delhi High Court slams Kejriwal government for ‘lax approach’ in building 100-bed hospital

New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday criticized Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government for its “lax approach” in the construction of a 100-bed hospital in the city’s Najafgarh area despite the Centre’s nudge.

“Do something so that the construction gets completed. You can say no but don’t sit tight. You decide as per the law,” the high court bench said during the hearing.

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“It is the misfortune of the public that the 100-bed hospital could not be completed due to the slowness of the Delhi government,” PTI quoted the bench as saying.

A bench of Chief Justice DN Patel and Justice Jyoti while hearing a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) by an advocate Rajesh Kaushik seeking a direction to both the governments to complete the construction of the hospital at the Rural Health Training Center at Najafgarh said that The Union of India is writing “letter after letter” and yet there is “no reply” from the Delhi government.

“No counter has been filed (by the Delhi government),” the bench said.

Appearing for the Centre, advocate Anurag Ahluwalia said the project was 80% complete and is waiting for the Delhi government’s forest department to go ahead with it since December 2018 as the site needs clearance for “transplantation of trees”.

Noting that the structure of the building is complete and it was “extremely necessary” for the general public that the hospital should be operational before the arrival of a possible COVID-19 third wave, the petition also said that there is no need for good hospitals in the Najafgarh area. There is a shortage and setting up of a 100-bed hospital will “serve the needs of 1.5 million people” living in 73 villages.

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The bench gave time to the Delhi government to file its reply on the petition and mention the “shortest possible time” within which the tree transplantation would be approved.

The next hearing of the case will be on November 8.

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