HEALTH & DEVELOPMENT: State asks Delhi to inspect land for AIIMS clone – while Darjeeling stays a mute spectator ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT
Raiganj, July 16: The Bengal government has asked the Centre to send a team to inspect the 100 acres the state has identified in Sitgram for an AIIMS-like hospital.
“The state government has already identified the land and communicated to the Centre that the plot will be provided free of cost along with access to road, sewerage and grid power connectivity,” said health minister Surjya Kanta Mishra in a letter to Union health and family welfare minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.
“The land has to be acquired but before we do so, it will be necessary to get confirmation from the Union ministry about its suitability. I shall, therefore, request you to please get the land inspected by a team from the ministry and confirm the suitability.”
Mishra said as soon as the confirmation arrived, the state would acquire the plot along NH34 and develop the area, 9km from Raiganj town.
On June 20, Azad had sought information from the state on the infrastructure required for the proposed project. Mishra’s letter is in reply to the Union minister’s enquiry.
In April, North Dinajpur district Congress president Mohit Sengupta and Raiganj MP Deepa Das Munshi met Azad and requested him to expedite the project. “He had sounded positive and his letter to the state health minister indicates that the Centre is serious in executing the proposal,” said Sengupta, who has a copy of Mishra’s letter, today.
The Union cabinet on February 5 last year had approved the AIIMS-like hospital with 960 beds and 39 speciality and super-speciality clinics in Bengal, two years after then Congress MP from Raiganj and Union minister Priya Ranjan Das Munshi had taken the initiative.
Deepa Das Munshi, Priya’s wife, while contesting from Raiganj last year, had promised the residents that the hospital would be developed soon. The CPM had then described the announcement “bluff”.
Today, Subir Biswas, a district secretariat member of the CPM, claimed that because of his party’s movement the people of Raiganj, and north Bengal in general, were about to get the super speciality hospital. “We had carried out a consistent movement and raised the demand at various quarters which is why the Centre was forced to take up the project,” he said.
As political parties vied to take credit for the project, district administrative officials said they are awaiting instructions.
“After the initial announcement in 2007, a 100-acre plot was identified at Panishala in Sitgram on the outskirts of Raiganj town,” said Sunil Dandapat, the district magistrate.
“The major portion of the identified plot is vested land. Only a few acres have to be acquired. Once we receive instructions, we will start the acquisition process, followed by the development of basic infrastructure.”