August 15, 2018 5:35:02 am
A decade after getting clearance from the central government, the out-patient department (OPD) of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in Rae Bareli began services on Monday. A team of eight doctors attended to around 1,100 patients in the last two days. “Five faculties – medicine, ophthalmology, ENT, orthopaedics and dental – have begun functioning at the centre,” said Ashok Kumar, medical superintendent. “There are five consultants for these respective fields and three junior resident doctors. We also have a pathology lab with X-ray and blood testing facilities.”
Kumar, a recruit from PGI Chandigarh, said that in the next few weeks, they plan to start other streams as well, including paediatrics, and more staff would be deployed. Political parties, meanwhile, have begun staking claim for credit for the project, which is in former Congress president Sonia Gandhi’s Lok Sabha constituency.
“The credit goes to Sonia Gandhi ji, who constantly pursued the project during UPA regime as well as in the present regime. She wrote to Union Health Minister J P Nadda in 2015 and then in 2017, requesting expedition of the project as it was of public interest,” said V K Shukla, Congress district president.
The AIIMS was cleared during the UPA regime in 2009 when Mayawati’s BSP government was in power in the state. The delay, he said, was due to political vendetta. “We could not get land from the state government initially in 2009,” he alleged. “Construction of OPD was completed in 2014. We could not operationalise it then because of staff crunch and then the Lok Sabha elections were announced and it could not be taken forward. Despite constant reminders and requests, the final operations are starting almost four years later.”
However, MLC Dinesh Singh in Rae Bareli, who had quit the Congress for BJP a few months back, said, “There is no doubt of Sonia Gandhi’s contribution – she laid the foundation stone and must be thanked. But the fact remains that during UPA regime from 2007 to 2014, only Rs 158 crore was released for the project, whereas Prime Minister Narendra Modi gave clearance for release of another Rs 276 crore for the project, so should he not be thanked more?”
Singh further said, “How can Congressmen go across the district claiming entire credit for the project. The fact is that Congress, which has no ideology of its own, is nothing more than the private limited company of one family. While Congress never gave funds for the constituencies of opponents, BJP, which works through policies allocated more funds for the project.”
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