Bolangir: Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik Friday said that the government was making efforts to provide healthcare services and education in the inaccessible areas and tribal pockets of the state.
Speaking after dedicating the much-awaited Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital here to the people, he described the occasion as a “moment of change” in Odisha.
“Great efforts are being made for the welfare and development of rural and tribal communities. First the Gurupriya Bridge and now the inauguration of medical colleges are a national endeavour,” he said.
Congratulating the first batch of students, he said that essence of the state lay in western Odisha and the inauguration of the medical college and hospital had fulfilled a long cherished dream of the people of Bolangir. It will also help in significant improvement in the quality of healthcare in these parts, he added.
Paying homage to Santha Kabi Bhima Bhoi after whom the medical college and hospital is named, the Chief Minister said the poet had professed and propagated humanism to the whole world. He advised the students to follow the footprints and ideals of the legendary poet to serve the society, mostly the neglected lot. Earlier, Patnaik unveiled a statue of Bhima Bhoi.
He informed that there were 321 seats of MBBS course in 2000. With the establishment of Koraput Saheed Laxman Nayak Medical College and Hospital, Mayurbhanj Pandit Raghunath Murmu Medical College and Hospital and Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital, the number has now gone up to 950.
“With the inauguration of Balasore Fakir Mohan Medical College next month, the total number of MBBS seats will increase to 1,050. The medicos should treat the poor patients with dedication and compassion,” he said.
Union Health Minister J P Nadda, who was also present, spoke about implementation and benefits of Ayushman Bharat, Deendayal AMRUT Scheme, Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna. He requested Odisha Health Minister Pratap Jena to implement it in all the medical colleges so that the patients are benefited by the branded medicines at affordable prices.
Besides the Chief Minister and Union Health Minister, state Health Minister Pratap Jena, Leader of Opposition and Bolangir Congress MLA Narasingha Mishra, Bolangir MP Kalikesh Narayan Singh Deo, former Rajya Sabha member and former Bolangir MLA A U Singhdeo, Titilagarh MLA Tukuni Sahu, Losingha MLA Jogendra Behera, Kantabanji MLA Haji Md Ayub Khan, district Collector Arindam Dakua and other officials graced the occasion. The new medical college has been built at an estimated cost of Rs 187 crore. While the Odisha government has invested Rs 122 crore, the Centre has contributed Rs 65 crore.
Similarly, for the hospital, `113 crore has been spent. While `83 crore has been spent by the state government, `30 crore has been shared by the Centre. The state government has also provided 25 acres of land for the purpose. In addition, the state government will also bear all the expenses towards the maintenance of the college and hospital including the salary of the medical teachers and doctors.
Jena revealed that another building would be set up near the hospital at a cost of `95 core. Apart from the inauguration, the MBBS academic session also began Friday. There are 100 seats for the 2018-19 session.
“It indeed is a historic day,” said a student Sushree Pratibha Tripathy.
Notably, the first proposal for establishing the Medical College and Hospital was passed in 1999 by the Western Odisha Development Council (WODC) when Narasingha Mishra was the then WODC chairman. The foundation stone had been laid by the Chief Minister in 2004.