Shimla: Prolonged controversial issue of starting a Medical College in the government sector at Mandi reached catharsis with Employees Insurance Corporation (ESI) stepping in and deciding to open a medical institution with a 300 bedded hospital in Mandi.
Chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal told media persons that union labour minister Oscar Fernades informed him that the medical college would become functional by 2010-11 and Rs 500 crore would be spent on constructing it.
Admission to the first batch of 50 MBBS students for the institution would start by 2010-11 and 50 % of the seats would be reserved for Himachali students, said Dhumal.
A 25 acre land site for the medical college has been identified at Nehar Chowk and the union labour minister would be requested to lay the foundation stone for it within the closing year, he said.
ESI is already setting up a 100 bedded hospital at Baddi and opening up one medical college in each state is part of labour ministries plans.
On the occasion, he charged the congress of misleading about starting a government medical college in Mandi. He said that there was nothing on record, a proposal or any cabinet memo that indicated the government intended to open a government medical institution in Mandi.
However, a October 23, 2007 notification, after elections to the state assembly had been announced by the central election commission surfaced with a back date of October 8, 2007 stating that a government medical college would be opened in Mandi.
Elections were announced on October 10, and then chief minister Virbhadra Singh who was out of the country as health minister could not have approved such a memo. The gazette notification was used just to fool the people as an election ploy for the purpose, said Dhumal.