Odisha government on Monday announced to set up a medical college at Baripada from its own resources.

The announcement came close on the heels of the Centre turning down the proposal of State government to set up medical college in Mayurbhanj district.

Responding to Centre’s proposal for setting up of 58 new medical colleges to deal with crisis of doctors’ shortage, the State government had proposed four medical colleges in Balasore, Bolangir, Koraput and Baripada. These medical colleges would have been set up by upgradation of 200-seated district headquarter hospitals. However, Centre accorded its approval for Balasore, Bolangir and Koraput.

“Mayurbhanj is the largest tribal district of our State. When we had sent requests for medical college to Centre, Mayurbhanj was included in the list along with Balasore, Bolangir and Koraput. But the proposal of medical college at Baripada was not considered. It is really unfortunate,” said Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here on Monday.

A medical college would have benefited vast tribal population of the district. “Taking into consideration all facts, the State government has decided to set up medical college at Baripada from our own source,” said Mr. Patnaik. He hoped the long cherished demand of the district was fulfilled.

Setting up of a medical college was discussed at a high level meeting under chairmanship of Chief Minister. Health and Family Welfare Minister Damodar Rout, Textiles and Handloom Minister Sarojini Hembram and Chief Secretary J. K. Mohapatra attended the meeting.

Estimated cost of establishment of a medical college is Rs. 189 crore under the central sector scheme. While Centre would give 75 per cent of the cost, the State government would contribute 25 per cent. The intake capacity of the medical college is 100.

The State government, however, has not announced as to how much fund, it would mobilize for establishment of medical college at Baripada from its own source. Earlier on the day, opposition parties such Bharatiya Janata Party, Jharkhand Mukti Morcha, Communist Party of India, Aam Admi Party and citizens associations enforced a 12-hour-bandh called in Baripada in demand of a medical college.

The announcement comes close on heels of the Centre turning down State’s proposal to set up medical college in Mayurbhanj district.