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Areida engineers back AIIMS at Changsari

A group of civil engineers, including one from Assam Engineering College, today came out in support of the plot selected for the proposed AIIMS at Changsari in Kamrup district.

By SUMIR KARMAKAR in Guwahati
  • Published 26.07.16
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P.K. Sarma (centre) in Guwahati on Monday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, July 25: A group of civil engineers, including one from Assam Engineering College, today came out in support of the plot selected for the proposed AIIMS at Changsari in Kamrup district.

Engineers affiliated to Assam Real Estate and Infrastructure Developers Association (Areida) and Save Guwahati Build Guwahati, an NGO, today said an expert committee constituted by the state government had selected the plot after environmental impact assessment, accessibility, comparative project cost analysis and other factors.

The support for Changsari plot comes days after J.N. Khataniar, a city-based consultant engineer, said the construction of AIIMS at Chang-sari would lead to destruction of Jalah Beel, a waterbody, and violation of laws meant for protection of ecology.

Khataniar said the construction of the AIIMS near a waterbody was a violation of the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation, Conservation and Protection) Act, 2008.

"Of the seven plots offered by the Assam government, the expert committee had shortlisted Changsari and another plot in north Guwahati. However, Changsari was finalised. The plot selected is close to LGBI Airport at Borjhar compared to Raha in Nagaon district where some people are demanding the AIIMS. Since the expert committee decided on Changsari, we also favour this site over Raha," P.K. Sarma, the president of Areida, said at a news conference here. "Jalah Beel does not come under the scheduled waterbodies under the Guwahati Water Bodies (Preservation, Conservation and Protection) Act, 2008. So, the question of violation of the act does not arise at all," Sarma added.

"We are making the statement today after our own assessment and discussion with experts from IIT Guwahati and Assam Engineering College," he said.

The secretary of Save Guwahati Build Guwahati, Kailash Sarma, said the plot selected for the construction of the proposed AIIMS at Changsari would be convenient for patients as well as doctors to visit it from outside the region. "A doctor coming from outside the Northeast to AIIMS will find Changsari more convenient than Raha. Besides, if a patient admitted at AIIMS requires air-lifting, it will be easier as the airport is closer," he said.

The LGBI Airport at Borjhar is about 20km from Changsari while Raha in Nagaon district is about 70km.

Assam Engineering College professor Diganta Goswami, Architect Association of Assam general secretary Preetam Nath and engineers - Anil Sarma, Bimal Sen Deka and Amit Baruah - supported the Changsari plot. The engineers said the confusing statements regarding the plot for the proposed AIIMS was detrimental to the project.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for an AIIMS at Gorakhpur recently while we are still lagging behind," the Save Guwahati Build Guwahati general secretary said.

One person was killed during a protest at Raha recently, who demanded that the AIIMS should be set up there.