CHHATTISGARH Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel Tuesday promised transparency in the acquisition of a private college for which the state government has proposed to enact a new law.
Responding to a report in The Indian Express on Tuesday that the state’s unusual move to take over a financially-strapped medical college owned by a family into which his daughter has married raised questions of conflict of interest, Chief Minister Baghel said, “As far as kinship and vested interests are concerned, I want to tell the people of my state that Bhupesh Baghel is accountable to them and he has always done politics with transparency.”
Baghel said the move to acquire the college was “an attempt to save the future of a medical college (Chandulal Chandrakar Memorial Medical College) and hundreds of students in the state”. “This will save the time of setting up a new medical college and every year the state will get 150 doctors… Once the deal is done, everything will be clear,” he said in a series of tweets.
“If there is a question of public interest, the government will buy a private medical college and also a (steel) plant at Nagarnar. We are in favour of the public sector and will continue to remain so. We are not selling public property like them,” Baghel said.
The draft of the Bill to acquire CCMMC in Durg district was approved in the Cabinet meeting on July 20, and it will be tabled in the state Assembly, Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ravindra Chaubey said in a press statement.
The monsoon session, which commenced Monday, is underway and is scheduled to conclude on July 30.
The state government decided to acquire the college in the interest of the people and students with an aim at speedy expansion of medical education, Chaubey said. “Usually it takes around Rs 500 crore and a lot of time to build the infrastructure of a medical college. With the acquisition of 150-seat Medical College recognised by the Medical Council of India, the people of the state will be able to get the benefit of one more government medical college only at half of the cost,” he said.
The Opposition, however, criticised the statement government and accused the CM of nepotism and corruption. BJP leader Raman Singh, who was the CM before the party lost Assembly elections, said, “The Central government has a scheme in which brand new medical colleges can be built in 1/4th the cost of a new college. Why then are we spending so much on a defunct college? This is a gross misuse of power. We will take on the government on this issue in the Assembly session.”
Senior BJP MLA and ex-Cabinet minister in the state, Brijmohan Agrawal, said the Bill was an attempt to benefit people associated with the college. “It seems it is being done to benefit people associated with the college. Otherwise, there are several colleges which have been facing losses. Will the state government acquire them all?”
In a separate statement, the state BJP asked the CM to cancel the “family deal”.
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