Of the four AIIMS-like institutes announced by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitey in the Union Budget Thursday, at least one, at Kalyani in Nadia district of West Bengal, is already on the fast track and may become the first to get off mark.
Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan Thursday told The Indian Express that his ministry will send a team to inspect the land earmarked for the project as soon as the state government sends in its details.
“We have received a communication that Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants the institute to be set up at Kalyani. To give respect to her sentiments, we have decided to do as much. We are only waiting for the state government to send the details of the land and we will send a team for inspection as soon as we get it,” Dr Harsh Vardhan told The Indian Express.
In his Budget speech, Jaitley announced that four AIIMS-like institutes would be set up in West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Vidharbha in Maharashtra and Purvanchal in Uttar Pradesh. While the Centre has allocated Rs 500 crore for all four, the initial cost for setting up these institutes has been estimated at Rs 800 crore each.
Sushanta Bandopadhyay, director of medical education says that his department was sending the ‘parchas’ (a government document about ownership of land) and other relevant details about the land to the Centre soon. “The land is ready and it has no encroachments. Filling up of the area and other things will be done once they approve the documents. The land is in a very good condition and construction can be started as soon as they want,” Bandopadhyay told The Indian Express.
Dr Harsh Vardhan said he would check with his department officials when the report was due from the state government. “When the report comes, I assure you, we will examine it as soon as possible,” he added.
The 200-acre land near Kampa More at Kalyani that has been set aside for the health institute, was earlier given to a diary firm about five years back. Since the dairy firm did not utilise it, the state government has taken it back.
It was the UPA-I government, which had decided to set up these institutes and former Union minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi tried to get it for Raigunj, his constituency in the North Dinajpur district. After he fell ill, his wife Deepa Dasmunsi, now an MP from her husband’s seat, launched an agitation to get it Raigunj, but Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee stood in the way saying she wanted the project at Kalyani. The UPA-II government just sat over the project and it was the NDA government, which, within one month of coming to power, accepted Mamata’s demand for AIIMS at Kalyani.