West Bengal to get its own AIIMS, TMC says good news

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given Mamata Banerjee what she couldn’t get during the UPA II regime — All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The Centre has finally given clearance to set up an AIIMS-like super-specialty hospital at Kalyani, at a distance of about 50 kms from Kolkata. This, says Trinamool Congress bosses, will aid the treatment of difficult diseases of all residents of Bengal, including Calcuttans.

At a time when Bengal’s health infrastructure is facing flak with the Medical Council of India sharply reducing the number of medical seats in the state citing inadequate facilities, clearance to an AIIMS-like institution has in fact brought cheer in party circles. Trinamool MP from Sreerampur, Kalyan Banerjee, said, ‘AIIMS will definitely benefit the people of Bengal and Kolkata as well. AIIMS is the topmost hospital of the country and it has the best doctors in every field. Its strategic location at Kalyani will help patients in getting treatment for difficult diseases without having to go to Vellore or Chennai.’

Banerjee pointed out that the tentative location of the hospital at Kalyani is very convenient.  From Nadia to the two 24 Parganas to Kolkata the catchment area is huge. ‘The AIIMS coming up in Bengal is surely good news,’ chief minister Mamata Banerjee said. Land is also readily available for the project.

Setting up an AIIMS at Kalyani was a long-standing demand of the Trinamool Congress. Former Union minister Deepa Das Munshi had tried to get the project for Raigunj, her constituency, but Kalyani in Nadia finally won the day.

Interestingly, when the Trinamool Congress MP Sudip Banerjee was the Union minister of state for health way back in 2012, the UPA II government had mooted the idea of setting up AIIMS-like medical institute. Initially, it was proposed to be set up at Raigaunj (a Congress stronghold) in North Dinajpur during the 12th Plan.

Earlier, the Bengal government had informed the health ministry that it was not possible to acquire land for AIIMS at Raigunj as the proposed site was on a farmland. On the other hand the state informed the Centre that there is enough land in Kalyani.

Soon after coming to power, Mamata Banerjee’s government had written to the health ministry to shift the proposed Rs 850 crore project to Kalyani from Raigunj, as it will be easier for doctors and teachers to commute while Raigunj is 400 km away from Kolkata. A Kalyani resident who was elated to hear that Bengal was getting an AIIMS, said, ‘Now we do not have to rush to places like
Vellore, as all super-speciality treatments can be done here.’
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