Tuesday, 5 July, 2022
HomeIndiaIn 15 days, BJP & RSS workers turn Kolar hospital defunct for...

In 15 days, BJP & RSS workers turn Kolar hospital defunct for 20 yrs into 300-bed Covid facility

The Bharat Gold Mines Limited hospital, a 140-year-old institution at the Kolar Gold Fields near Bengaluru, will start operating from Monday.

Text Size:

Kolar Gold Fields: It took around 15 days for nearly 300 volunteers of the BJP and RSS to infuse life into a 140-year-old defunct British-era hospital at the Kolar Gold Fields (KGF) in Karnataka, some 100 km from capital Bengaluru.

Now from Monday, the Bharat Gold Mines Limited (BGML) hospital in Kolar will be ready for Covid-19 patients.

The BJP MP from Kolar, S. Muniswamy, who has been camping at the site for the past few days, told ThePrint that the hospital used to serve as a facility for the miners and their families until 2001, when it went defunct.

He added that as the number of Covid-19 cases began increasing in Kolar district, the BJP’s KGF city president, Kamalnathan, suggested that the old building at BGML could be converted into a Covid-care centre.

“More than 12,000 people used to rely on the BGML, which was a 800-bed hospital. But the hospital was shut for over two decades,” he said. “Our Sangh Parivar and BJP workers decided to put in a 300-bed Covid-care facility. More than 250 people have been working day and night tirelessly here for the past 15 days and have transformed it. The facility for 220 patients is ready now and will be operational from Monday.”

Munisamy also said that the hospital will be equipped with 30 oxygen concentrators that are being provided by the Karnataka Deputy Chief Minister Dr C.N. Ashwatha Narayana.

“We have already selected doctors and nurses too who will work here. Just like we have Victoria and Bowring hospitals in Bengaluru, similarly we want BGML to be known in the same manner,” the MP said. “It is a 140-year-old building and still in good shape.”

“Once it is ready, apart from KGF, other nearby constituencies will also be able to use it. X-ray machines, labs, we are starting all services here,” he added.

The total Covid-19 cases in Kolar district stand at 27,832, with 5,106 active cases and 256 deaths reported in the district as of Saturday.

BJP MP Muniswamy giving instructions to his party workers and volunteers inside the hospital | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
BJP MP Muniswamy giving instructions to his party workers and volunteers inside the hospital | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint

A challenging task

The BGML hospital was first established in 1880 by Dr T.J. O’Donnell and his brother J.D. O’Donnell. With 800 beds back then, it was touted as the largest hospital in Asia.

Muniswamy told ThePrint that the task to convert it into a Covid-19 ward was not easy as the volunteers had to contend with 20 years of disrepair.

“Our BJP and Sangh Parivar team worked tirelessly to make it work. All civil work, water work, laying pipes was done. More than 400 truckloads of garbage were removed from here,” he said. “Many people looked at it and said it won’t even be ready in a year but in 15 days, we showed them.”

The BJP MP said he had reached out to Union Mining Minister Pralhad Joshi, who assured him of all help.

“I had requested mining minister Prahlad Joshi ji to give me permission to start work on this hospital and he told me to go ahead with it,” Muniswamy said. “I told him that it’s a good building and we should put it to some use. He told me that he would extend all support. Our deputy CM and other leaders from Karnataka also helped in this.”

Also read: Hit hard by 2nd wave, Bengaluru is using Mumbai’s Covid management idea to prepare for 3rd wave

Workers of Sangh Parivar

The BJP’s KGF city president, Kamalnathan, who urged the MP to take up the matter with the union government, said Sangh Parivar workers worked day and night to finish the job.

“Around 20 days back, cases in Kolar district were increasing drastically and I told our MP that the hospital could immediately be used for Covid isolation,” he said. “He called up the central mining minister who gave his permission.”

Kamalnathan added that Muniswamy mobilised the workers. “Once cleaning was done, we did the painting work. About 300-350 people worked from morning until evening for 10 days and everyone worked as volunteers. Painting and plumbing work is being carried out now.”

A volunteer at the site told ThePrint that he hoped the hard work would result in the hospital being completely revived.

“Our MP has arranged everything from his own pocket, from beds to other things,” he said. “This was like a haunted building, with a huge amount of dust, malba, cobwebs everywhere. Around 2-3 inch of demolition waste was inside the hospital, bats were flying here and there… We hope after Covid is over, this hospital is used as a normal general hospital.”

According to an RSS worker, apart from the BJP, the Sangh Parivar was also actively involved in it. “BJP, RSS, VHP and other organisations of the Sangh Parivar worked day and night to ensure we could have a facility in the district itself as we have only one general hospital to cater to the entire district and other nearby areas,” the worker said.

The BJP party workers and volunteers at the hospital | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint
The BJP party workers and volunteers at the hospital | Photo: Praveen Jain/ThePrint

‘Oppn to blame for rising cases’

Speaking on the rising Covid-19 cases in Kolar as well as Karnataka, Muniswamy blamed the opposition “for playing politics over vaccination”.

“Opposition played politics over vaccines, calling them Narendra Modi and BJP vaccines. They used to say if you’d get vaccinated you won’t have kids, you’ll die, you’ll fall sick,” he said. “The opposition did all this. More than 17 crore people have been vaccinated and even after going door-to-door, people refused to get vaccinated. Now so many people are coming forward to get vaccinated.”

Kamalnathan said the Covid-19 situation had eased in Kolar.

“As far as Covid cases are concerned in this taluk (KGF), on an average 150 cases were being reported and in the entire district around 800-1,000 were being reported,” he said.

“About 20 days ago, it was in a very bad situation. People are saying there could be a third wave too and we want to be ready for it. In a week’s time, we will also be able to provide oxygen to the patients.”

(Edited by Arun Prashanth)

Also read: Bengaluru residents go 80 km for Covid shot as medical hub just doesn’t have enough vaccines


Subscribe to our channels on YouTube & Telegram

Why news media is in crisis & How you can fix it

India needs free, fair, non-hyphenated and questioning journalism even more as it faces multiple crises.

But the news media is in a crisis of its own. There have been brutal layoffs and pay-cuts. The best of journalism is shrinking, yielding to crude prime-time spectacle.

ThePrint has the finest young reporters, columnists and editors working for it. Sustaining journalism of this quality needs smart and thinking people like you to pay for it. Whether you live in India or overseas, you can do it here.

Support Our Journalism

Most Popular