After five long years of pull and push, the Union Government has agreed to set up a medical college with a 500-bed hospital in Bhubaneswar.
With the Union Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) approval, the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) has decided to go ahead with construction of the medical college and hospital, revealed a senior official in the State Department of Labour & ESI.
A letter issued by the Employees’ State Insurance Corporation in this regard has been received by the Secretary Labour & ESI CTM Suguna. Union Secretary Labour & Employment Mrutyunjay Sarangi, just before his retirement, took initiative to clear the Rs 500-crore major health facility project for the State, revealed the source.
Way back in October 2008, the then Chief Secretary had requested the ESIC Director General to upgrade the existing ESI hospitals in Bhubaneswar, Choudwar and Rourkela to medical and dental colleges.
The ESIC DG asked the State Government to provide 25 acres of land, preferably near the ESI Hospital Bhubaneswar and the latter agreed to provide the land at Jagannathprasad in the city. The ESIC DG was communicated in this regard by the Regional Director, ESI, Odisha.
However, Sundargarh MP Hemanand Biswal demanded that the proposed medical college be shifted to Rourkela, which has a larger number of Insured Persons (IPs). So, with a confusion prevailing over establishment of the medical college in Bhubaneswar or Rourkela, the ESIC was in a fix. As per the decision of the Union Government, the ESIC was to set up a medical college in every State.
Looking at the indecision and delay at the Union Government level, encroachers started grabbing the acquired land for the ESIC medical college in Bhubaneswar.
The State Government decided to erect a boundary wall around the land to save it from the clutches of the encroachers.
As there was a lot of opposition by the villagers in and around the land to erection of the boundary wall, the Government completed the boundary wall construction with the support of the MLAs of Bhubaneswar.
Later, the State Government requested the Union Government to set up two ESIC medical colleges, one in Bhubaneswar and the other in Rourkela, forcing the Centre to set up a high-level committee to select the site for one medical college.
The committee visited both Rourkela and Bhubaneswar in March 2012, and it was reliably learnt that the expert body favoured Bhubaneswar as the right place for the proposed medical college.
But the committee report was lying in files till the new Union Minister Labor & Employment Sis Ram Ola, being convinced about the matter favoured Bhubaneswar for establishment of the medical college. Sarangi as the Union Secretary played a vital role in the decision-making, revealed sources in the State Government.
Now, with the approval of the Union Government, the Regional Director of the ESIC has approached the Bhubaneswar Development Authority (BDA) to renew the approved plan for the medical college so as to go ahead with construction, said the sources.
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