Even after eight years have passed since laying of the foundation for the first medical college (Nagaland Medical College) at Phriebagei in Kohima district and despite umpteen efforts, the project appears to have run aground. It may be recalled that the foundation stone was laid by chief minister Neiphiu Rio on March 3, 2014. Nagaland has two centrally approved medical colleges- one in Kohima and the other in Mon while CIHSR in Dimapur, which has all existing facilities has not been considered.
A delegation from Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) visited the site on Thursday and reviewed the ongoing construction work in addition to the under-construction 400-bed teaching hospital.
Speaking to Nagaland Post, IQVIA senior consultant Amit Saini said the Department of Health & Family Welfare (H&FW) proposed construction of a 400-bed hospital in 2018 and submitted a detailed project report (DPR) to the Union Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
During a visit to Nagaland Medical College at NHAK in 2018, Saini said Union health secretary Preeti Sudan saw the space constraints for expansion and proposed the 400-bed hospital at the proposed medical college.
Subsequently, engineers from the ministry visited the site, reviewed and assessed the college and forwarded the project to JICA.
Thereafter, Saini mentioned that the Japanese government had approved conducting a feasibility study in May-June this year by sending a team of experts. Saini said the JICA was already considering approving loan for the purpose.
He disclosed that the proposed loan would include Rs 177 crore for civil works and Rs 72 crore for medical equipment, while showing interest to fund Power and PHE departments.
Executive engineer, Er. Moanaro Longkumer informed this correspondent that so far five apartments, sports complex, administrative building, residences of medical superintendent and dean, boys’ and girls’ hostels and other external development were on the verge of being completed.
She said DPRs were already submitted to JICA and hoped that construction of the 400-bed hospital would take off soon at the existing medical college site.
Moanaro further mentioned that the H&FW Department would apply for National Medical Council (NMC) accreditation by June this year, which would be followed by the council’s inspection. If everything was found satisfactory, admission for the first academic session would start by mid-2023.
It may be also recalled that the government had earlier announced that academic session would begin by 2020-21.
Moanaro attributed the delay in completion of the college to Covid-19 pandemic that adversely affected the construction work despite putting all efforts for early completion. She hoped that the college infrastructures would be completed by 2022 end, provided funds were released on time.
The visiting delegation included JICA India’s principal development specialist Aditi Puri and JICA India representative Rio Ohguchi.
It may be recalled that, chief minister Neiphiu Rio, after several impediments, had stated during the 2021-2022 budget session that the first medical college would begin its academic session from 2022-23.
NMC to be renamed
Meanwhile, it has been learnt that the H&FW department was mulling renaming the proposed Nagaland Medical College to Nagaland Institute of Health and Medical Sciences, though this could not be confirmed till the filing this story.