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Trinamul springs AIIMS land surprise

Raiganj, Sept. 27: The North Dinajpur Trinamul Congress has sent a proposal to Mamata Banerjee suggesting that the AIIMS-like hospital be set up on a plot of vested land near Raiganj town.

The proposal to set up the institute in Udaypur was sent by the party’s district president and Itahar MLA Amal Acharya last week. It has come at a time local Congress MP Deepa Das Munshi has repeatedly said that land for the institute was ready at Panishala, also in Raiganj, but the chief minister was “unwilling”.

Mamata recently said that she was not averse to the setting up of the facility in Raiganj, but would not take farmers’ land.

“The chief minister had made it clear at a meeting (at Itahar on August 30) that the state would not forcibly take farmers’ land for any project. The chief minister had said she would set up the institute only if land was made available without affecting farmers. After the announcement, we have been trying our best to locate a plot,” Acharya said.

He added that only 15-20 per cent of a 100-acre plot earmarked by the Congress leaders at Panishala was owned by the state and the government had to acquire the rest of the area.

“We went through the records at the block land revenue office and found there were 83 acres of vested land in Udaypur that was lying vacant. It is about 2km from Raiganj town. The Union government wants 100 acres, so the state will have to acquire less than 20 acres from private parties. If the institute is set up here, it will cost far less than if the state had to acquire land in Panisala.”

Acharya added that the proposal was sent to the chief minister along with a map of the area. “We have been saying from the beginning that we are not against the project in Raiganj. But our local MP and a section of the Congress leadership has been spreading canards against the chief minister. It is high time that this was stopped,” said the Trinamil MLA.

The Congress MP from Raiganj, Deepa Das Munshi, has termed the move a “drama”.

“The institute will come up at Panishala. This new proposal is nothing but drama,” she said.

Deepa added that the plot at Udaypur had been lying with the state for many years. “Why did the Trinamul Congress not propose it earlier? At a time when people, cutting across political lines, have joined our movement to demand the AIIMS-like hospital at Raiganj, the chief minister is scared of the consequences.”