MADURAI: The alleged delay by the State government in sending additional details sought by the Centre about the five locations chosen to establish All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS) hospital, has slowed down the process of the project in the State.
The proposal to establish AIIMS in Tamil Nadu was announced during the Union Budget 2015-2016. Five sites Thoppur in Madurai district, Sengipatti in Thanjavur district, Pudukottai Town in Pudukottai district, Perundurai in Erode district and Chengalpattu in Kancheepuram district were identified by the State to set up the hospital. Then the Centre asked TN to provide details about facilities in all five locations on the basis of criteria under ‘Challenge Method’ to set up AIIMS.
According to sources, after two months, the State government has sent a report to the Centre about the facilities available in all locations. However, in a previous RTI reply, the State Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan had written a letter to Sunil Sharma, Joint Secretary of Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare favouring the establishment of AIIMS in Thanjavur district. This caused a stir in southern districts as the people had expected that the AIIMS would be set up in Thoppur.
Meanwhile, on May 24, the Central government sent a letter to Radhakrishnan, asking for details about accessibility of school and colleges, and job opportunities for the family members of AIIMS faculty in the five locations. But even after 45 days, the State government has not yet sent the reply to the central government.
Replying to an RTI application filed by Express recently, the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has said, “The reply from the State regarding the details for selection of site for AIIMS is awaited.”
Speaking to Express, Radhakrishnan said, “The details sent by the Collectors of all five locations have been collected and it would be sent to Centre before July 11.”
While there is a delay in selecting a location in TN, the Jharkhand government selected Deogarh for setting up AIIMS and got the Centre’s approval even though the proposal was announced in the Union Budget 2017-18.