Osmania General Hospital authorities and the city’s heritage activists are now at loggerheads over the plan-ned demolition of the Osmania Nursing College. The activists maintain that the structure is 91 years old, and needs to be preserved. Hospital authorities, however, argue that the building was built in 1951, (making it 61 years old) and that they have no other option but to demolish it to pave way for a new hospital building. On Thursday, a team of heritage experts inspected the site and produced facts, backing their side of the argument. “A stone plaque, right on top of the building, clearly shows that the structure was built in 1921. It is the oldest part of the Osmania General Hospital, built primarily for a nursing college. This portion of the building also has the oldest pump house and a dhobi ghat which is still in use,” said Anuradha Reddy, who led the inspection team.
According to the historians, the college block’s garden also has a tree that saved several lives during the 1908 floods. They fear the demolition could wipe out the garden and the historical tree. Meanwhile, principal of the Osmania Medical Coll-ege, Dr P. Srinivas rejected all claims made by the activists. “The nursing college’s foundation was laid on June 22, 1975, and the hostel was constructed in 1951. The old Osmania General Hospital was founded long back in 1921. These are the genuine facts, and we have taken photographs of the same and have also submitted the photos to the government as evidence. Wrong and misleading information is being used to stall the new project.” Five nursing students, who are on a hunger strike at the Osmania General Hospital, have refused to end the fast despite suffering from low blood pressure. Late on Thursday evening, it was reported that one of the five students was admitted to the hospital after her condition deteriorated. Health of the other four is also worsening. Hospital authorities are conducting checkups every 4 hours.
The strike began on April 10 and over 250 nursing students have been supporting them. The students want the government to give a written assurance that there will be adequate facilities in the new building and changing rooms and rest rooms will be made for them. Meetings with superintendent Ram Das, college principal Dr P. Srinivas and Dr Vishnu Prasad, director of health and medical education, have failed.