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AIIMS plea to Bihar Cong

- Deepa to hold rallies in neighbouring state for hospital

Raiganj/Islampur, Sept. 13: Raiganj Congress MP Deepa Das Munshi has turned to her party leaders in neighbouring Bihar for support in her agitation for an AIIMS-like hospital in North Dinajpur.

Last month, Deepa had announced an agitation programme from September 20 to 24 to demand that the state government acquire land for the super-speciality clinic.

Sources said Congress leaders from the district have already contacted their counterparts in Bihar’s Katihar, Purnea and Kishenganj as well as RJD leaders to garner support as these places, which are near North Dinajpur, would also benefit from the AIIMS clone.

“We had identified the land required to set up the institute and we have given enough time to the state government to acquire it. The new government has done nothing in the past one and a half years. We have waited for a long time. We will start our agitation from September 20. We are also involving Congress leaders and supporters in adjoining Bihar as they, too, would benefit if the facility comes up,” Deepa said over phone from Calcutta today.

She added that the agitation would include rallies that will start from Cooch Behar on September 20.

In subsequent days till September 24, the agitation will move to Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Malda and South Dinajpur.

“After September 24, we will have a gap for a week to 10 days. During this time, we will hold rallies in Bihar and tell the people the importance of having an AIIMS-like facility in Raiganj. I had taken part in rallies and road blockades in Bihar last year to demand for the acquisition of land for the Aligarh Muslim University in Kishenganj,” Deepa said.

She added that the final phase of the agitation would be launched in October. “We are not going to announce the date, time and venue as we do not want to give the administration any chance to thwart our movement. We will continue with the movement till our demand is met,” said the MP.

Trinamul Congress leader and Islampur MLA Chowdhury Abdul Karim criticised Deepa. “Chief minister Mamata Banerjee had declared publicly that if she was given land, there was no problem in setting up the facility, but she would not acquire land by force. I fail to understand why Deepa Das Munshi plans to carry out her agitation despite the statement? I will ask her to withdraw the agitation. Instead of criticising Mamata Banerjee, let her concentrate on helping the district administration acquire the land,” Karim said.

The RJD MLA from Bihar’s Kochadhaman, Akhtarul Imam, said: “We are going to stand by Deepa Das Munshi.”