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Centre push to health & horticulture
500-bed, 100-seat facility on outskirts

Bhubaneswar, March 2: Union labour minister Oscar Fernandes laid the foundation stone for a 500-bed medical college-cum-hospital at Jagannath Prasad on the city outskirts here today.

The project will be set up by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) at an estimated cost of Rs 701 crore.

The medical college and hospital is expected to be ready within three years. In the first phase, the facility will have 200 beds, which will subsequently be increased to 500. The state government has provided 25 acres free of cost for the establishment of the healthcare institution.

The proposed medical college is expected to ensure better healthcare for industrial workers. It will have a state-of-the-art library, teaching blocks with modern operation theatres, hospital and residential areas.

With industrialisation picking up across the state, the new medical college and hospital will be used as the referral hospital for all the 13.20 lakh insured persons under the various health insurance schemes of ESIC.

The Union labour minister said the medical college would be a milestone in healthcare delivery mechanism for the industrial workers as three more hospitals would come up in Angul, Jharsuguda and Balasore. The proposal for the medical college and hospital was approved by the labour ministry in 2009. However, a dispute over its location delayed the project. It was finally decided to be established in Bhubaneswar.

Rajya Sabha member and ESIC governing body member Ramachandra Khuntia suggested that till the new campus of the proposed healthcare facility became ready, the existing ESIC Hospital at Jayadev Vihar could be used as the site for the medical college.

State labour minister Bijayshree Routray said: “We will try to shortly start the medical college at the existing facility. But, the Centre should provide funds to upgrade it before admitting MBBS students.”

Union minister of state for chemicals and fertilisers Srikant Kumar Jena thanked Fernandes for its decision to set up the ESIC medical college and hospital in the state. He said the Jan Aushadhi scheme to supply generic medicine at lower-than-market rates could only be successful with the support from the state governments and the Centre.

ESIC director-general A.K. Agarwal said the Bhubaneswar hospital would be a “centre of excellence” in the country’s healthcare map.