Centre ready to pay for hospital land but state not keen: Azad

Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad today said that even as the Centre was willing to pay for the land that will be acquired for the AIIMS-like hospital, the state government wasn't interested in the project.

"The Centre is ready to pay up to Rs 15 crore for the project in Raigunj but the state government doesn't want it there. It is adamant on its land policies without considering the number of people who would benefit if a hospital comes up there," Azad added.

The minister was speaking at the launch of The Banerji Protocols: A New Method of Treatment with Homoeopathic Medicines.

"There is already AIIMS-like hospitals in six states - Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Bihar, Rajasthan and Orissa. At Rai Bareli, the cabinet has decided that land would be allotted free of charge for the hospital," he said.

Other Congress leaders of the state had earlier alleged that the state government was opposed to the hospital because it is the brainchild of senior Congress leader Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi.

Congress leader and wife of Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, too, said it was the state government that was putting stumbling blocks on the hospital's way. "We have tried a lot. Last time, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said she will not acquire land and that we could if the farmers were willing to sell. The Central government is ready to pay Rs 823 crore for the hospital and the state cannot have it because of stubbornness," she said.

She also said that the valuation of the land to be acquired for the hospital has risen to Rs 22 crore from Rs 15 crore. "The Centre is even ready to bear that. Now that the Panchayat election is here, the same cannot announced and started during the Panchayat polls. We will do so once the elections are over," she said.

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