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Cracks appear in newly-built Sar-i-Pul hospital

Cracks appear in newly-built Sar-i-Pul hospital

By
On
Jan 31, 2018 - 15:58

KABUL (Pajhwok): The 100-bed hospital’s building in northern Sar-i-Pul province, a 250 million afghanis project, has started appearing cracks and other infrastructural failures due to its substandard construction, Pajhwok Afghan News has learnt.

According to the Public Health Ministry, construction work on the hospital in Sar-i-Pul City, the provincial capital, kicked off back in 2009 and completed in 2016 at a cost of 250 million afghanis by ‘New Jan Construction Company.’

Documents of the government-funded project, provided by Eng. Abdul Zahoor Sahak, in-charge of Public Health Ministry’s infrastructure and buildings, show the building was handed over to the health ministry’s delegation upon completion despite low quality construction work.

Dr. Mohammad Rustam Rajabi, head of the Sar-i-Pul hospital, said the building was not a standard one as cracks and other problems had surfaced in the structure only one year after its construction.

He said lifts in the building were out of order, plaster on walls had fallen to the ground, its painting had gone and the warm water system was not working. He said lower parts of the hospital building’s walls had become wet and the building tilted down disorderly.

He added plastic had been used instead of mosaic in the floor of the building and now the plastic had separated from the floor, allowing water to penetrate the basin.

Dr. Rajabi said insects easily entered the hospital building because the flour had been constructed leveled with the ground amid absence of exhaust fans and an inactive irrigation system for the hospital greenery.

But the health ministry’s infrastructures head said that the floor of the hospital was made of linoleum which was anti-bacteria while mosaic was not effective.

Responsibility of the construction company

Sahak said: “We wrote a formal letter to the New Jan Company regarding construction problems in the building such as the repair of plaster, lifts, water system and others. If the company fails to address these problems, then they will be dealt with in line with the procurement laws and the repairs would be carried out from the company’s $500 money guarantee.”

Meanwhile, Dr. Noorul Haq Jalis, director of Sar-i-Pul public health, said the New Jan Company should have handed over the building after one year of its construction and repaired defects in the construction work.

However, the company did not take action despite it was several times requested by the governor’s house and the public health department, he said.

He said the hospital building was handed over to a MoPH delegation while Sar-i-Pul public health department was not involved in it.

But Eng. Sahak said the building had been fully handed over to the MoPH delegation, the provincial public health department and other relevant organs.

Mohammad Altin, former provincial public health director, the building was half complete when he took over as the director and monitored the work quality, but the MoPH was mainly responsible for supervising this project.

Sar-i-Pul governor Mohammad Zahir Wahdat said: “I am not aware if former officials had links with the contractor, but when I was appointed as governor two years and three months ago, I shared the issue of substandard construction of the hospital with both the media and the government, not once but several times, but unfortunately no one heard our voice.”

He said the contractor had not yet formally surrendered the project and the hospital office had been shifted to the new building based on obligations. The contractor even not interested in coming to Sar-i-Pul province, he added.

Ambiguity in money back guarantee, overtime work

The Sar-i-Pul governor said: “This contractor also took the money back guarantee  and we were recently informed the company had taken 11 million afghanis in the name of overtime work without confirming it with the governor’s house.” He asked judiciary organs to follow the issue.

But Sahak said: “Around $500,000 of the construction company is with the relevant organ according to the procurement law for quality assurance of the project, this maintenance money would be paid to the company if it repairs problems of the building, but if it does not repair the building, then the maintenance money would not be paid to it.”

He said the governor had expressed his views without having enough information because the maintenance money was protected and the money for overtime work had not been paid to the company.

Eng. Maqsood, deputy head of New Jan Company, said they had obtained the maintenance money but did not obtain the assurance money.

About the quality of the project, he said they had worked according to the contract and they would repair damages in the building in near future.

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