Shimla: Banking upon political considerations by throwing a gauntlet for union health minister Jagat Prakash Nadda to ensure establishment of a world class All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) institute in home state and home district of Himachal Pradesh, the state cabinet here today decided to set up the prestigious institute in Bilaspur district.
Taking into consideration the proximity of as many as five districts – Solan, Mandi, Hamirpur, Una and Shimla a decision was taken to establish AIIMS in Bilaspur and to benefit the people of Himachal Pradesh at large, a spokesman declared after the cabinet meeting ended a little while ago here today.
Presided over by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh, the decision to base AIIMS is Bilaspur district, the district to which Mr Nadda belongs to may have settled the pull and push that political heavy weights were indulging in trying to settle upon a definite location but it has also put a question mark over the upcoming ESI Medical College at Nehar Chowk – Mandi, that is being established by the union ministry of labour.
The ministry of Labour has already spent over Rs 750 crore on the ESI hospital and medical college and is behind schedule in starting MBBS courses as the Medical Council of India found its infrastructure deficient and did not accord it permission to start the medicine graduation courses.
Interestingly, at the very moment the Election Commission of India announced parliamentary elections and put into force the election code of conduct on March 6, 2014, former UPA labour minister Oscar Fernandes was at Nehar Chowk formally inaugurating the Mandi ESIC Hospital and Medical College but the institute has not become functional yet.
Whereas on the ground, the Congress government takes credit in proposing to locate the AIIMS institute in Bilaspur, the onus of establishing and making it functional has been passed onto Modi Sarkar and it health minister JP Nadda.
State health minister Kaul Singh Thakur had been making efforts to get the union health ministry to take over the ESCI hospital cum medical college or to establish the AIIMS institute in central Mandi district for which even 1500 bighas of land had been identified but today’s cabinet decision has put the issue to rest.
Other than the proposed AIIMS institute and the upcoming ESI Medical College in Mandi, the state has three functioning medical colleges – IGMC at Shimla, Tanda Medical College near Kangra and Markandeshwar Medical College near Solan.
Former union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad on 1 March, 2014, while inaugurating a specialist wing at Tanda Medical College had also announced setting up of two more medical colleges in the government sector in Himachal Pradesh, something that has vaporized as an empty electoral announcement.