AIIMS-like multi-speciality hospital to be set up at Raiganj

The Congress’ State unit has emerged the winner in its tussle with the Trinamool Congress over the location of an AIIMS-like multi-speciality hospital in West Bengal, with United Progressive Alliance chairperson Sonia Gandhi re-asserting that the facility will come up at Raiganj in Uttar Dinajpur district — the venue the State Congress has been campaigning for.

Citing problems relating to land acquisition, the Trinamool government had written to the Union Health Ministry stating that the hospital should come up at Kalyani in Nadia district. The Congress, however, had refuted the claims saying that farmers were willing to part with their land for the same.

While launching a new initiative of the Union Health Ministry at Thane in Maharashtra on Wednesday, Ms. Gandhi had said that two new AIIMS-like hospitals will be set up at Raiganj and at Rae Bareli in Uttar Pradesh.  

Despite the approval of Union Cabinet in 2009, no work has been done to set up the Rs.828-crore facility because of the Trinamool government objection. It had also raised doubts on where the hospital will finally be located.

Congress MP from Raiganj and Union Minister of State for Urban Development  Deepa Dasmunsi, who has been in the forefront of the campaign, welcomed Ms. Gandhi’s Thane announcement.

“The Centre is looking for other options, including going in for land acquisition on its own, for setting up the hospital. Farmers who own the necessary land are willing to sell it for the purpose of a hospital,” she told The Hindu on Thursday.

“While the Trinamool government is politicising the issue, the UPA government has stood beside the people of the region and is firm on setting up the hospital at Raiganj,” Ms. Dasmunsi added.

 The State Congress had launched a concerted campaign where signatures were collected and rallies held to mobilise support for the project in Raiganj. On January 10, the party had organised a march to the State’s Secretariat to highlight its demand.