Congress-BJP trade charges over Shanta Kumar’s hospital project

Shanta Kumar run Vivekananda Medical Research Trust,was a bone of contention between the ruling and opposition benches, even as the post lunch discussion in the Vidhan Sabha remained inconclusive as the house was adjourned for the day.

Moving the discussion resolution, former minister GS Bali said that as the government had allotted high valued land near Palampur for setting up a quality health institute many years ago and the institute had failed to come till date, the house needed to know what the status of the project was.

Referring to allegation of nepotism and corruption having surfaced in running the trust, Bali dared Shanta Kumar to seek a CBI inquiry into the matter. He also demanded that the government place on record the last ten years audited accounts of the trust. He also sought to know when this project would see the light of the day for it was started in 1990.

A battery of speakers from the opposition choose to dismiss Bali’s resolution by raking up the controversies surrounding his birthday bash, even as they acknowledged that the hospital had failed to come up for lack of funding. S

BJP member Karam Dev Dharmani stated that Rs 23 crore had been collected from the people for setting up the super specialty health centre and the government had pitched in Rs 1.28 crore. The accounts were audited each year and a copy was duly sent to the secretary health each time, he said. A naturopathy Kaya Kalap centre had become functional, said Dharmani adding, the super specialty section was under construction and was facing shortage of funds. Other BJP members who spoke on the resolution included, Ramesh Dhawala, Rajiv Bindal, Cpt Atma Ram and Mohinder Singh.

On the congress side forest minister Ram Lal said the project under gestation for a long period was not doing justice towards the people of the state. He said the terms of the original trust had been changed and 40 acre land leased for the project was transferred by violating the laws. Senior congressman Brij Bihari Butail said that the trust was day dreaming in attempting to set up a Rs 1000 crore super specialty hospital because in a period spanning over a decade and a half, the trust had only managed to secure Rs 40 crore private and public funds for it.

The discussion remained inconclusive when Kuldip Singh Pathania who was in the chair adjourned the house. Sarp verbal exchanges and heated arguments marked the discussion.

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