In response to a PIL filed by advocate KR Koshti, a bench of Chief Justice Aravind Kumar and Justice Ashutosh Shastri of the Gujarat high court on September 6 asked the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) why it wanted to demolish the VS Hospital building. It sought to know what the civic body proposes to do after demolishing the building.
The AMC sought time to file a reply and the court posted a further hearing for Thursday.
Koshti filed the PIL in 2020 during the first wave of the pandemic. He has been arguing that since the VS Hospital offers free-of-cost services, it should continue to function for the sake of the poor. Last year, during the first wave of Covid-19, the nearly 90-year-old, dilapidated Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC)-run Sheth Vadilal Sarabhai (VS) Hospital’s doors remained open for regular procedures and OPD services.
At present, the hospital is incapable of taking in even a trauma or emergency patient, the AMC said.
He had urged the HC to direct the civic authorities not to close the VS Hospital after the corporation started the SVP Hospital on the same campus. The PIL sought resumption of medical facilities which were stopped gradually after the new hospital began operations.
The AMC, in its meeting dated July 17, 2020, had resolved to proceed with the demolition of the building. A year-and-a-half earlier, on January 18, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Research, also called SVP Hospital, on the same premises. The new hospital came up even as the AMC simultaneously tried to reduce the number of beds at the VS Hospital. At that time, trustees of the VS Hospital had said that the move will lead to patients suffering since the new hospital will charge higher rates.
Last month Koshti learnt about the AMC’s plans to demolish nine blocks of the hospital covering a carpet area of more than 4,700 sq mt.