Vardhan to take up AIIMS plan with CMs

Union health minister Harsh Vardhan has decided to write to chief ministers of all the states seeking their cooperation in fulfilling BJP’s ambitious poll promise of having an AIIMS in each state.

‘The message I will carry to health ministers in states and the chief ministers is that not providing health care to the poor is not an option for the Narendra Modi government. If we put our heads together, we will find a solution. So let us work,’ he said, according to an official statement on Saturday.

Vardhan on Friday reviewed the ongoing process of establishment of six AIIMS in as many states in a meeting with their directors and assured them that he would get in touch with respective chief ministers and consider giving them more autonomy to speed up the work, it said.

Centre would consider having more AIIMS projects if the chief ministers show interest, the health ministry release said quoting him.

The minister asked the directors to submit detailed status reports within a week.

Recalling how the work to have an AIIMS in Raigunj in West Bengal was stalled after the state government expressed its inability to acquire land for the project, he asked all chief ministers to make full use of the Centre’s plan.

‘Land acquisition should not be a problem for a hospital because it is for a public purpose. Moreover, it would be a government-run free facility and no private company would make profits. So I would request all chief ministers to avail this opportunity,’ he said.

Vardhan also praised the health care facilities developed in south India and said its model holds out an example for the northern states where medical facilities for the poor are still ‘scarce’.

Opening an AIIMS without having in place a workable model would be akin to placing the cart before the horse, he said, adding, ‘But the poor and middle class cannot be ill-served indefinitely.’ Therefore, he would consult the state health ministers on ways to collect local synergies, the statement said.
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