Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad here on Wednesday said a medical college would be established at Baripada, district headquarters of tribal-dominated Mayurbhanj district, with central assistance.

Besides, he urged Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to keep land ready in any hinterland of Odisha for setting up of second superspecialty hospital of All India Institute Medical Sciences-Bhubaneswar. First, AIIMS-Bhubaneswar super specialty hospital will be located at Balasore.

Announcement of Mr. Azad came close on the heels of State government announcing to set up a medical college at Baripada with its own resource.

“Recently, we have sanctioned setting up of three medical colleges at Balasore, Koraput and Bolangir where district headquarters hospitals will be upgraded. Baripada was left out. As both Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik and Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilizers and Statistics and Programme Implementation Srikant Jena are insisting on for Baripada, we will sanction another medical college there,” the Union Health Minister said, inaugurating AIIMS-Bhubaneswar here on Wednesday.

Part of initiative

“These four medical colleges is part of our initiative to fund construction of a medical college on the campus of district headquarter hospitals having 200 beds. We are coming up with over 50 such medical colleges across India. Our attempts would be locate these medical colleges in backward States like Odisha, Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal and Northeastern States,” he maintained.

“Sanction of four medical colleges for Odisha is very high percentage as there are total proposals of little over 50 medical colleges in the whole country,” Mr. Azad pointed out.

Taking exception to leaving Baripada out in the first phase, Biju Janata Dal had already made it an issue. The State government had announced to construct a medical college by mobilizing its own resources.

Mr. Azad took a dig at sincerity of State government to construct medical college at Bolangir. “A proposal for medical college at Bolangir was pending since 1999. I don’t know why the attempts of State government did not fructify.”

Union Health Minister said, “We have taken some path-breaking initiatives. We have changed rules of Medical Council of India and Nursing Council of India for which in four years MBBS seats in medical colleges have gone up by 55 per cent, PG seats by 75 per cent, ANM seats by 200 per cent and BSc nursing seats by 300 per cent. A lot has been done.”

“But we feel there is shortage in superspecialty hospitals. We had decided to upgrade 19 State medical colleges into superspecialty hospitals for which we had sanctioned funds to State governments. Nineteen is not enough. This time, we have decided upgrade additional 39 medical colleges into superspecialty hospital. Our objective is to make all facilities available in these hospitals like AIIMS intuitions.”

“I am happy to note that two medical colleges – MKCG Medical College, Berhampur and VSS Medical College, Burla – in Odisha have been included in the list. I hope these two medical colleges being converted into superspecialty in next two to three years,” he said.

With so many medical colleges coming up with central contribution, it is hoped that Odisha’s backwardness in health sector would fade out, the Minister said.