Ranchi, Sept. 12: Roman Catholic Church officials, waiting for land in Ranchi for eight long years to start a composite university and hospital project, received an offer from Odisha Assembly Speaker Pradip Kumar Amat to shift it to Baripada, but Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo insisted that he would not allow it to budge from Jharkhand.
“I have received a copy of the letter written by the Odisha Speaker requesting that the medical college project be shifted in its entirety to Baripada where the state would ensure all help. The letter is addressed to John Barwa, Archbishop of Cuttack, with copies marked to me and Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India,” Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo said.
But the Cardinal insisted on Ranchi. “This is my pet project that I have been nurturing for eight years,” he said.
“I had mooted this project in 2004 when I was first chosen to head the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, the highest policy-making body of the Roman Catholic Church in the country, in 2004. I was re-elected for the second term in 2006. Many wanted the project in Patna, Delhi or the Northeast. It was after a lot of persuasion that a consensus was reached to set up the composite project at Ranchi comprising a medical college, a 500-bed hospital, school, undergraduate and postgraduate colleges, law university, nurses training centre, accommodation for church officials,” the Cardinal said.
He added that they had to make available around 300 acres. “We have got some land. Legal proceedings are on in land revenue courts so that rest can be given to us,” he added.
Initially, the church had scouted for land along NH-33 that links Ranchi and Jamshedpur. When it didn’t work out, it shifted focus to Khunti-Chakradharpur Road. But the net result was the same.
Toppo, still optimistic about the project in Ranchi, said the medical college would be under the aegis of St John’s Medical College and Hospital, Bangalore. “We will draw up a detailed master plan once land is finalised. Then, we will approach institutions and benefactors for funds,” he added.
The Cardinal added that he wanted to see the project take off during his lifetime.