The Assam government on Friday joined hands with Mumbai-based Bright Star Investments for the construction of an upcoming medical college in the state capital, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.
After signing the memorandum of understanding, Himanta said this is the first time that the state government is partnering with a private player to develop the infrastructure of a medical college.
"We have tied-up for the second medical college in Guwahati. Bright Star Investments will put in Rs 150 crore to build the academic block, UG and intern hostels of the institute," he said.
The chief minister thanked the company founded by Radhakishan Damani for its CSR contribution.
Assam at present has nine operational medical colleges and hospitals.
In February this year, Himanta had laid the foundation stone of a new medical college in the state capital, to be constructed at an expenditure of nearly Rs 1,000 crore.
The upcoming 'Pragjyotishpur Medical College and Hospital' with two campuses, one at Panbazar and the other at Kalapahar, will be the second such institute in the state capital after Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.
The Mahendra Mohan Choudhury Hospital (MMCH) at Panbazar and the Kalapahar TB Hospital will be upgraded and made the two sites of the proposed medical college.
"The country lacks enough opportunities for medical education and it was proved when a huge number of students returned from Ukraine after its war with Russia started. Prime Minister Narendra Modi then instructed to improve medical education infrastructure so that no student leaves the country," Himanta said.
The Pragjyotishpur Medical College and Hospital will start functioning from 2024 and it will have 100 seats for the MBBS course, he added.
"We will soon start construction of five more medical colleges in Golaghat, Bongaigaon, Morigaon, Tamulpur and Dhemaji. After that, we will come up with three more medical colleges in Sivasagar, Karimganj and Goalpara."
"In the next five years, Assam will have a total of 24 medical colleges, greatly improving the availability of doctors and healthcare facilities in the state," Himanta said.
However, during the foundation laying ceremony of the Pragjyotishpur Medical College and Hospital in February, the Chief Minister had stated that "by the end of our present government's tenure, Assam will have 14 medical colleges".
Of the new medical colleges, seven are being constructed at Nalbari, Nagaon, Kokrajhar, Tinsukia, Charaideo, Biswanath Chariali and Guwahati.
The chief minister said that with the increase in medical colleges, the number of MBBS seats in the state have increased from 726 in 2014 to 1,200 in 2022 and Post Graduate (PG) seats to 711 from 395 in the same period.
"When the construction of the proposed medical colleges gets completed, the state will have 2,700 MBBS seats, thereby significantly enhancing opportunities for medical education in Assam. Also, 44 super specialty seats are now available in various institutions under the Assam government," he added.
Himanta exuded confidence that with the signing of the MoU, Bright Star Investments launched a new beginning in Assam and more such collaborations will happen in the future.
"We've initiated several partnerships in PPP mode so that private and public players can participate in the process of development of the region. I am sure this PPP initiative will go a long way in enhancing medical education and research in the region," Himanta said.