Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, May 9:
Even a year of its announcement to set up the much-awaited satellite unit of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Odisha’s Baleswar, the proposed healthcare facility is yet to become a reality as not a stone has moved an inch at the site.
For the extension unit of AIIMS, Bhubaneswar, the Odisha government has already handed over 25 acres of land including 19.91 acres for hospital and 5 acres for housing complex for the establishment of a satellite centre at Baleswar.
It may be recalled that the then Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Gulam Nabi Azad, on April 26 last year, had inaugurated the 978 bedded AIIMS hospital on the outskirts of Odisha capital. During the ceremony, the Central minister had announced that the satellite unit will be set up before general elections at Baleswar, after the state government provides required land for it.
Though the UPA government lost the elections and BJP-led NDA government came to power, the ground realities have remained unchanged. Dr Harshvardhan, in his capacity as Union Health Minister, had visited the AIIMS on July 19 last year and had announced that the premier hospital would be completed by December last year and would be dedicated to the country on the birth anniversary of BJP’s first Prime Minister, Atal Bihari Vajpayee on December 25. Besides, he had announced that the construction for the satellite centre at Baleswar would commence in December during that time last year.
After Dr Harshvardhan was shunted out of the Health Ministry, the 300-bed hospital to be established at a cost of Rs 300 crore is yet to take off.
On the other hand, AIIMS is going to enrol students for the thrd academic year and after the completion of fourth year MBBS the students would be ready for performing practicals.
If the satellite centre would not come up in the meantime, the medical students would find themselves at crossroads should the facility be not ready by then.
Notably, the Standing Finance Committee on AIIMS had approved the proposal of Bhubaneswar for setting up of advanced centres in four disciplines.
The proposed AIIMS satellite unit had ignited hopes for the district, which has been demanding a government medical college and hospital for years.
However, with the proposed unit making no headway, the local denizens and intellectuals have alleged Central apathy towards the state.