Bimal Gurung at Jamuni on Saturday.
Picture by Suman Tamang
Darjeeling, Jan. 13: The GTA has announced its plan to set up a super-speciality hospital, which would be the first in the hills, in Kurseong subdivision so that residents do not have to go to nursing homes in Siliguri for treatment.
Bimal Gurung, the chief executive of the GTA, while inaugurating a farmers’ fair at Jamuni in Darjeeling yesterday, said: “The GTA has decided to set up a multi super-speciality hospital at Dhudia (in Kurseong). We are looking for land, not only in Dhudia but also in the surrounding areas. The construction will start immediately after we find the plot.”
Dhudia is about 60km from Darjeeling.
Darjeeling has a district hospital, while Kurseong and Kalimpong have subdivisional hospitals.
However, for treatment of severe illnesses, most patients have to go down to Siliguri, which has private nursing homes.
The hospitals in the hills do not have intensive care units and facilities such as CT scan and MRI centres.
Darjeeling has three private nursing homes, while Kalimpong has two. But these also do not have MRI and CT scan facilities.
The details of hospital plan have not been finalised yet. Sources said the government has land around Dhudia. But it is not known if any land from there would be used for the project.
Gurung also explained the reason for favouring Dhudia as the location for the hospital.
“We have decided to set up the hospital at Dhudia as it will be convenient to fly in doctors from outside the region because of its proximity to Bagdogra airport,” he said.
Dhudia is around 20km from Bagdogra.
The sources also said the GTA was not averse to exploring the option of a public-private-partnership to set up the hospital. They said the GTA was looking at completing the project in three-four years.
The establishment of a hospital had been mentioned in the Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) signed by the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha, the Centre and the state government. The sources said the GTA might request the Centre to fund the project.
Gurung said: “The longevity of the GTA would depend on the co-operation from the Centre and the state government. I am hopeful that things will be better in 2013 and for the GTA to function, there must be minimum interference.”
The Morcha has already demanded that the Centre give the GTA an annual special grant of Rs 400 crore for the next 10 years, instead of the three-year package of Rs 600 crore as agreed on in the memorandum of agreement.