District administration yet to receive request to indentify 200 acres

Ernakulam district seems to have lost ground in the race for setting up the proposed All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) allotted to Kerala, though the Minister for Health V. S. Sivakumar told The Hindu that that the district was very much in contention.

Even as the district administration was yet to receive a formal request from the government to identify the 200-acre land for AIIMS in district, a senior government official told The Hindu that AIIMS would probably come up in a neighbouring district going by the situation on the ground now.

The Union Health Ministry had written a letter to the State government to find land to build AIIMS-like institutes. The authorities were also directed to shortlist two or three ideal locations for the project. As per the Health Ministry, the State has to hand over the land for free to the Centre to establish AIIMS.

The district administration had zeroed in a few sites ideal for establishing AIIMS in Ernakulam. The unutilised land near H.MT was proposed for the project, which the Minister referred to. The multi-storey building and quarters, which are not in use now, were also recommended as suitable to be part of the AIIMS campus. The State government has decided in principle to establish the International Cancer Institute at Kalamassery and in future, this area could be developed as a medical city.

The other suitable area suggested for establishing the medical institute was the land owned by Cochin Port Trust at Puthuvype. The Port Trust being a Central government institution, the land can be handed over free for this purpose.

Besides, the authority has also received proposals from a couple of elected representatives as well as residents associations expressing willingness to provide land for the project.

The main criteria for identifying land are that it should be fully government owned, said Mr. Sivakumar. The Union Government would not accept a proposal if the land is part private. There are these technical glitches in some of the proposals that had come in, he said.

The State planned to forward three proposals to the Union Government and the decision was likely be finalised by July 10, though it had time till the end of the month, Mr. Sivakumar said. Proposals had come from many places — the other key contenders could be Thiruvananthapuram, Kottayam, Malappuram and Kozhikode where infrastructure is somewhat better than other cities.

Earlier last week, the District Development Committee had urged the State government and the Centre to set up the proposed All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Kalamassery. The committee had also passed a resolution with regard to bringing the prestigious institution to Kochi. This, however, is not binding on the State government in anyway.

More In: Kochi