AIIMS delay irks Nitish

Different hues of health

By Our Correspondent
  • Published 8.04.15
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 Chief minister Nitish Kumar at the launch of Mission Indradhanush in Patna on Tuesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

Chief minister Nitish Kumar on Tuesday expressed his displeasure at the inordinate delay in making AIIMS-Patna fully functional.

Nitish said just placing a board with the AIIMS-Patna tag outside the premier health hub would not help. "I think the premier health hub should be equipped with all facilities. AIIMS-Patna should be fully functional," he said while speaking at a programme to launch an immunisation drive.

The programme, christened Mission Indradhanush, entails immunisation of children and mothers left out of regular immunisation drives. Fourteen districts - Araria, Begusarai, West Champaran, East Champaran, Darbhanga, Gaya, Jamui, Katihar, Kishanganj, Muzaffarpur, Patna, Saharsa, Samastipur and Sitamarhi - would be covered under it. These districts have immunisation percentage of less than 50, whereas the state average is 69.9 per cent, a touch above the national average of 65 per cent.

Nitish's displeasure at the delay in the completion of AIIMS-Patna is not out of place as thousands of people from the state, said a source in the health department, still go to AIIMS-Delhi to avail of better treatment. Even the chief minister hinted at something similar.

"When I used to be an MP, I used to get many requests from the people of the state to get their appointments fixed at AIIMS-Delhi. You would be surprised to know that I recently had a chat with some MPs, who told me that the trend was still similar," Nitish said.

The foundation stone for AIIMS-Patna - a dream project of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vaypayee - was laid in 2004 and was supposed to be ready by 2012.

Delegates at the meet on Tuesday. Picture by Ranjeet Kumar Dey

The deadline was missed and there is no deadline in sight even now.

"Going by the present pace of work, the institution would take at least five years to be fully ready," a senior official of AIIMS-Patna told The Telegraph.

The Centre has stopped giving funds for the project owing to inordinate delay in construction. The premier health hub has become partially functional with limited facilities such as outpatient and surgery departments.

After expressing displeasure at something (read AIIMS-Patna) over which the state government has no control, the chief minister asked the health department officials present at the launch programme to be doubly careful while carrying out immunisation drives.

"We need to take forward the routine immunisation programme in the state on the lines of the polio eradication programme, which has been very successful here. The state has been declared polio-free because not a single case of polio was detected for three consecutive years. I think we need to follow polio eradication programme model to better our routine immunisation coverage," Nitish told the gathering of health officials.

Senior officials, including principal health secretary Brajesh Mehrotra and secretary Anand Kishore, were among those present on the occasion.