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Mamata barb on AIIMS clone

Siliguri, June 24: Mamata Banerjee today said there was only “politics” over the establishment of the AIIMS-like hospital in Raiganj and no effort had been made in the past 10 years to obtain land for the project while declaring that the facility would come up at Kalyani in Nadia district.

The chief minister, who arrived at Bagdogra this afternoon en route to Alipurduar on a three-day visit, said: “The AIIMS (All India Institute of Medical Sciences) would be established at Kalyani. We would be happy if the AIIMS is set up in north Bengal. But for that, land has to be made ready. In the past 10 years, nothing was done to obtain land for the project and there was only politics over the issue.”

The UPA I government at the Centre had decided to set up the AIIMS-like super speciality hospital in Raiganj when Priya Ranjan Das Munshi was the local MP.

However, the state government allegedly took no initiative to acquire the land for the project.

Priya Ranjan Das’s wife, Deepa Das Munshi, who become Raiganj MP in 2009, organised a series of protest to press for the acquisition of the land for the project. The Mamata government’s persistent stand has been that the state will never take over land “forcibly” for any project in Bengal.

However, over 80 farmers at Panishala near Raiganj expressed their willingness to part with their plots (around 100 acres) for the hospital. But the state didn’t pay attention.

The government said 150 acres were available at Kalyani for the hospital.

Deepa, a known bete noire of Mamata, today said over the phone from Delhi that the chief minister was “telling blatant lies” over the issue.

“Since the day she took the reigns of the state government, the chief minister has been telling blatant lies on the AIIMS land issue in Raiganj and even today, she made some statements which are far from reality…We have nothing more to say as to why the chief minister has made such comments. It is entirely for political reasons that she has deprived north Bengal of the hospital of such a stature. She is determined not to allow the Centre to build the hospital in Raiganj,” said Deepa.

Mamata told journalists at Bagdogra that she would attend a government programme in Alipurduar tomorrow to be organised for the creation of the new district.

Asked if Trinamul’s relation with the BJP had improved as the Centre was likely to approve the AIIMS project for Kalyani, Mamata said: “It is better you ask them (BJP). We would never beg before anybody (the Centre) for such projects.”