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Over two years after Congress national president Sonia Gandhi requested the Centre to deploy staff and equipment to at least operationalise the OPD at the proposed AIIMS hospital in her Rae Bareli constituency, there has not been much development on the ground. The Congress is now planning to take the issue up with the state government.
On Thursday, Congress district unit along with the local party MLA Aditi Singh protested in the city demanding release of funds and OPD staff. “It was the first AIIMS project for UP,” said Vinay Dwivedi, Congress Rae Bareli spokesperson.
“Initially there were some delay in getting land and then funds but Rs 160 was already spent on construction of residential complex and a start-up OPD. Now the government is neither releasing money nor deploying doctors.”
The proposed AIIMS was supposed to be completed in three years time after it was approved in 2009. However, the then BSP government could not provide land for it. Four years later, the Akhilesh Yadav government allotted 97 acres from a defunct sugar mill. But by then the project suffered cost overruns. While the initial amount approved for the project was Rs 823 crore, by the time construction started, it escalated to over Rs 1,427 crore. In another blow, the UPA II lost to the NDA before it could release more funds. The OPD too failed to take off as the model code of conduct for elections had come into effect.
Compared to this, the AIIMS Gorakhpur’s foundation stone was laid just two days after the Cabinet gave its approval on July 20, 2016 with an estimated cost of Rs 1,011 crore.
Meanwhile, MLA Aditi Singh, said, “I will ask the Chief Minister to pursue the matter thinking beyond party lines as it is related to public health. Moreover, a lot of money has already been spent on the project.” Sonia Gandhi had written to JP Nadda on April 1, 2015, requesting clearance to the cost over run of the project and equipment and manpower to run the OPD.