The Centre has given clearance to set up an AIIMS-like super-specialty hospital at Kalyani in Nadia district, about 50 km from Kolkata.
Congress leader and former union minister Deepa Das Munshi had made much efforts to take the institute to Raiganj, her constituency, in North Dinajpur district, while Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had wanted it in Kalyani.
Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan had earlier this month said the Centre would look into Mamata’s suggestion that the proposed institute be shifted out of Raiganj.
Significantly, the NDA government’s nod is being seen as an attempt to bring Mamata closer to the ruling party at the Centre.
While Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal met the West Bengal Chief Minister in Kolkata recently, the latter is yet to initiate talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi unlike other chief ministers.
Criticising the Centre’s decision, PCC president Adhir Choudhury said, “The government wants to make Mamata happy, which is why they have done this. The AIIMS project at Raiganj was conceptualised by our veteran leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi who is ailing now.”
Justifying their demand, he said: “It makes more sense to set up an AIIMS-like institute in North Bengal as it can cater to people of Bihar, Jharkhand and entire North Bengal where medical facilities are not up to the mark. On the contrary, there are at least five government medical colleges on the way from Kolkata to Kalyani.”
Md Selim, the CPM MP from Raiganj, said both Congress and TMC have cheated people of Raiganj by making false promises. “The BJP government has betrayed them to win over Mamata.”
The Chamber of Commerce of North Dinjapur has called for a 24-hour bandh in the district on June 23 in protest. The Left parties have supported the bandh call.