As the Narendra Modi government completed four years in office, it listed the approval of 13 new All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) as one of its achievements. A month later on June 26, India Today published a report showing that the government has miserably failed in fulfilling its promise.
The report was based on information obtained through a Right To Information (RTI) petition. Taking it forward, India Today sent its reporters to the centres where AIIMS centres were supposed to be set up. Here is the status report of new AIIMS institutes:
AIIMS, Andhra Pradesh
The approval for an AIIMS at Mangalagiri in Andhra Pradesh’s Guntur district was given in October 2015. The approved cost of the project is Rs 1,618 crore. An additional Rs 272 crore will be provided under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana(PMSSY).
Tenders were finalised six months ago. The masterplan has been finalised and initial constructions under phase-I have begun. The Andhra Pradesh government has provided 192 acres of land near Mangalagiri for this green campus.
The local administration says that the first phase with about 1000 beds will be completed by December this year and bidding process has been going on for Phase-II for which Rs 560 crores were earmarked.
A deputy director has been recruited for campus. Its mentor institute, JIPMER Pondicherry has taken up faculty recruitment process. Interviews may be held in Chennai soon.
AIIMS, West Bengal
The Union cabinet approved an AIIMS to be set up at Kalyani in West Bengal’s Nadia district in October 2015. It is running behind schedule. The land has been identified and work has started.
Nadia’s Additional District Magistrate Avijit Bhattacharya told India Today that Rs 179.82 acres of land has been handed over to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.
Preliminary constructions are underway on the campus. The authorities have yet to conduct detailed research and finalise planning. The tender for the construction of the main building will be floated thereafter.
An AIIMS will come up in Kamrup district of Assam. Approval for the project was given by the Centre in May 2015 at a cost of Rs 1,123 crore.
The project ran into controversies after the National Green Tribunal ordered to halt the work at the chosen site for being a wetland. Currently, it has conditional clearance.
The landfilling has started and will take a few months to complete. The status of construction of AIIMS is behind schedule. Of the approved amount, the Centre has released only Rs 5 crore.
AIIMS, Uttar Pradesh
Approval for an AIIMS at Gorakhpur in Eastern Uttar Pradesh was given in October 2016 at a cost of Rs 1,011 crore. The project manager of the construction company told India Today that the outdoor patient’s department (OPD) of AIIMS, Gorakhpur is likely to begin in February 2019.
This means that the AIIMS project at Gorakhpur is running on schedule. The BJP looks all set to make this an election issue in Uttar Pradesh next year.
An AIIMS at Deoghar in Jharkhand was announced in last year’s Budget. On May 16 this year, the Union cabinet approved it at a cost of Rs 1,103 crore. Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid its foundation on may 25 this year during his visit to Jharkhand.
The government has acquired about 237 acres of land for AIIMS campus. It has released Rs 9 crore of the approved budget. Chief Minister Raghubar Das said that the AIIMS, Deoghar would be fully operational from February 2021.
AIIMS, Himachal Pradesh
PM Modi laid the foundation stone for the Rs 1,350 crore AIIMS project at Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh in October 2017. Bilaspur is the home of Union Health Minister Jagat Prakash Nadda.
The project was expected to begin at Kothipura but not even a single brick has been laid. When India Today team visited the site, the construction engineers were planning to erect a retaining wall for which only the measurements were being taken.
PM Modi laid the foundation stone of AIIMS at Bathinda in Punjab in November 2016. PM Modi promised that the project will be operational in 2020. But the pace of construction is slow.
So far only a boundary wall has been constructed. The construction of the main building is yet to start. The construction company has only set up a make-shift labour camp. It has not yet received a nod from some of the department in the state government.
Project engineer Lovepreet Singh told India Today that the construction would begin in a fortnight.
What Health Minister said
Speaking to India Today in Dehradun, where the AIIMS is functional, Nadda said that PM Modi wanted one AIIMS in each of the states. It takes nearly four years to complete construction of AIIMS-like hospital from the date of laying the foundation, he said.
Nadda also said that the building would be ready by December at Guntur in Andhra Pradesh and Nagpur in Maharashtra. Other sites may take some more time, he added.
With inputs from Mayank Pratap Singh (Andhra Pradesh), Manogya Loiwal (West Bengal and Assam), Gajendra Tripathi (Uttar Pradesh), Dharambir Sinha (Jharkhand), Manjeet Sehgal (Himachal Pradesh and Punjab)