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Centre hope for three hospitals

Calcutta, Jan. 6: Union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said the Centre would add super-speciality wings to three medical colleges in Bengal and pointed to the difficulty in building the proposed AIIMS unit in Raiganj because of “problems” in acquiring land.

The three medical colleges that would get super-speciality buildings are the ones in Bankura and Malda and the North Bengal Medical College Hospital in Siliguri. They are among 33 institutes shortlisted in the country for upgrade.

“The plan was to build eight AIIMS-like institutes across the country. Six of them have been completed. Work is on in the case of the seventh. Raiganj was the eighth. But we have not been able to start construction there because of land problems,” the Union minister said on the sidelines of a programme at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute today.

According to officials, the government’s reluctance to acquire land in the constituency of Mamata Banerjee’s bete noire Deepa Das Munshi had led to the delay in the construction of the proposed AIIMS unit in Raiganj.

Deepa had alleged that the government was not keen on acquiring land in Raiganj despite a section of farmers willing to give their plots.

Asked if the project had been shelved, Azad said: “We have plans for Raiganj. The hospital would be built if we get space.”

He was quick to add that availability of land had been a problem with several of the seven other facilities, too.

“Getting land to build these institutes was a problem. So we have decided to use land that is available in medical colleges in the country and construct super-speciality buildings there. This would also lead result in upgraded hospitals,” the minister said.

Super-speciality hospitals facilitate multiple treatment under one wing and are better equipped to handle critical cases.

The health minister added that Rs 150 crore had been allocated under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna for each of the three medical colleges chosen in Bengal.

“We will build an out patient department, an academic building and a super-speciality building in each of these hospitals,” Azad said.

The minister today inaugurated two buildings of the Calcutta Medical College that have been built with funds from the same scheme.

Azad added that the upgraded medical colleges in the state would have 200 super-speciality beds, against the 250-odd such beds in the AIIMS units.

The Union minister also announced a 4,460-bed second campus of the Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute at Rajarhat, which would be set up for Rs 534 crore. The Centre will fund 75 per cent of the cost and the rest will come from the state.

“A satellite centre of the institute will also be built in Hooghly,” he added.

Apart from the upgrade of the three medical colleges, Bengal will also get three tertiary cancer centres in Burdwan, Murshidabad and at Sagar Dutta Memorial Medical College Hospital in North 24-Parganas.