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Private quest for malaria clinic

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) is scouting for private parties to run its much-hyped malaria hospital at Kalighat. The hospital, touted as the first of its kind in the country, is being set up in the complex built for hawkers displaced by Operation Sunshine.

Sources said the civic authorities have decided to hand over the land and the five-storeyed building, valued at more than Rs 4 crore, to a private party or an NGO. “The 30-bed hospital is scheduled to open its doors to the public from January,” said mayor Subrata Mukherjee on Sunday.

A six-member team, headed by municipal commissioner Debasis Som, will look into the handover modalities. Representatives from Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, the Indian Institute of Management, Indian Institute of Hygiene and Public Health and Belle-Vue Clinic are included in the team. Mayor-in-council (health) Javed Ahmed Khan is not in the team; instead, officer on special duty Atanu Mukherjee has been included, sources said.

According to mayor Mukherjee, two floors of the building will be reserved for malaria patients. “The rest of the floors will be used as and how the owner chooses to. In fact, he can even use the space to start other types of healthcare facilities or use them as offices,” he added.

CPM chief whip in the civic House Amal Mitra was, however, of the opinion that malaria being a seasonal disease, the reserved beds would go abegging during the lean season. “The proposal is not feasible. It should be worked upon,” he said.

Mayor-in-council (health) Khan, when asked why he was not included in the malaria taskforce, said: “Ask the mayor. He is our king and can do no wrong.”

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