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UPA swallows bitter Bengal Pill yet again

NEW DELHI: Coalition compulsions have claimed yet another victim. The UPA government has decided to deflate the dreams of ailing Congress veteran and former parliamentary affairs minister Priy

Published: 01st April 2012 11:17 PM  |   Last Updated: 16th May 2012 07:15 PM   |  A+A-

NEW DELHI: Coalition compulsions have claimed yet another victim. The UPA government has decided to deflate the dreams of ailing Congress veteran and former parliamentary affairs minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi to set up a new medical institution on the lines of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in his former constituency of Raigunj, West Bengal. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee wants the site shifted to the Trinamool stronghold of Kalyani, near Kolkata. The Congress seems to be ready to oblige its temperamental ally.

Priya Ranjan’s wife Deepa Dasmunsi who currently represents Raigunj is not ready to give in without a fight, however. “The prime minister and Union health minister are very positive. But Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee is not. Earlier, we had to fight with the Left front government. Now we are being treated the same way. The chief minister’s land acquisition policy is not clear,” she said.

The Centre will pick up the bill of Rs 900 crore while the state government has to shell out Rs 15 crore to acquire 110 acres of land. Raigunj, in northern Bengal, sorely lacks medical infrastructure. Traditionally, Northern Bengal has been pro-Congress even at the height of Left rule, while the southern part of the state is now under the Trinamool Congress’s sway. Thanks to this north-south tussle, the proposal for an AIIMS-like institution had been lingering in a state of indecision. It took three years for the proposal to reach the Union Cabinet from the health ministry. It finally got a nod in February 2009. As soon as Banerjee came to power in May last year, she withdrew the no-objection-certificate given to the super-speciality facility by the Left Front government in July 2010.



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