After nearly a decade since the project was conceived by the Armed Forces Medical Services, a modern super-specialty 1,082 bed Command hospital was inaugurated by Army chief General M M Naravane on Friday.
The ambitious project to relocate the largest tertiary care multi-speciality centre of AFMS to Kondhwa from its present location at Wanowrie had hit a hurdle after the estimated project cost sprang up. However, after several clearances and changes in the hospital design during the intervening years, the hospital was finally ready and now a phase-wise shifting of patients, furniture and other equipment will be done.
The hospital is scientifically designed and also strategically located opposite the Army Institute of Cardio Thoracic Sciences at Kondhwa. This will ensure integration of care is much better and patients will not be required to move much from one facility to the other.
At the present location at Wanowrie, the Command hospital is spread over 108 acres. Most buildings are very old and several have undergone renovations. The departments are also scattered across the huge campus, forcing people to cover long distances to move from one department to the other.
At the new multi-storeyed complex at Kondhwa, the hospital has been built along the lines of New Delhi’s Army hospital (Research and Referral)- which is the apex flagship medical care centre for the armed forces of India. The new building is spread across 28 acres and buildings are environment friendly.
While phase-wise shifting from the old to the new hospital is being planned, it was reliably learnt that the Southern Command (HQ) authorities were toying with various plans on using the premises including stepping up a research wing for the Armed Forces Medical College. At the original location the Command hospital was started on December 1, 1947 as Military Hospital (Poona). It was named the Command Hospital (Southern Command) on April 8, 1967.
As per a statement issued Friday, the new one will be a multi-speciality tertiary hospital primarily for troops deployed in operational areas and veterans of the Armed Forces.
The Army Chief, who is on a three day visit to Pune from Thursday, visited the Headquarters of the Pune-based Southern Command on Friday. Gen Naravane was received and updated on various operational and training related issues by Southern Army Commander Lieutenant General CP Mohanty. The Chief was also given an update on the contributions of troops of Southern Command in various Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) operations in peninsular India last year, particularly towards assistance provided to civil administration for Covid-19 and floods.
The release added, “General MM Naravane complimented Southern Command for maintaining a high state of combat readiness and training in spite of the current Covid-19 pandemic. He also appreciated various initiatives and welfare projects undertaken to improve quality of life of troops and their families. He reiterated the Army’s commitment in the national effort to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 pandemic.”