West Bengal’s wait for AIIMS is over

For the residents of West Bengal, the long wait for All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is over as the Narendra Modi-led NDA government has okayed the proposal of setting up of AIIMS in the state.

While informing about the decision over establishment of AIIMS, union health minister Harsh Vardhan on Friday said that the centre has approved the setting up of two AIIMS one each in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal under Phase-II of Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Surksha Yojna (PMSSY). The scheme aims at correcting the imbalances in availability of affordable tertiary level healthcare and to augment facilities for quality medical education in the under-served states.

The minister further informed the Lok Sabha that AIIMS in Raebareli is under construction, while AIIMS in West Bengal would be set up at Kalyani, about 80 km from Kolkata.

To expedite the setting up of AIIMS, the health ministry has requested the chief ministers of different states to identify three or four suitable locations for the establishment of new AIIMS. ‘Approximately 200 acres of land at a location is required for establishment of one AIIMS-type super-speciality hospital-cum-teaching institution.

The location should have road connectivity, availability of water and electricity,’ a health official said, adding that the state government has to undertake to provide, free of cost land and other required infrastructure such as suitable road connection, sufficient water supply, electricity connection of required load and regulatory clearances for the purpose.

The six new institutions modelled on AIIMS under the Phase-I of PMSSY are located in Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), Bhubaneshwar (Odisha), Jodhpur (Rajasthan), Patna (Bihar), Raipur (Chhattisgarh) and Rishikesh (Uttarakhand). All these news AIIMS will also have medical and nursing colleges. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee-led NDA government had announced in 2004 the setting up of new hospitals on the lines of AIIMS in New Delhi under the PMSSY.

Under attack over delay in completion of all six AIIMS, health minister Harsh Vardhan had asked all AIIMS directors to complete the institutes within six months, so that PM Narendra Modi can dedicate it to the country on 25 December.

‘Six new AIIMS were the dream of ex-PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and the foundation stone was laid during his tenure. We want all of them to be inaugurated on his birthday on 25 December,’ Vardhan had said.

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