Monday, August 8, 2022

Venture birthed in Nagaland

When this newspaper reported about the incomplete Nagaland Medical College(NMC) now renamed as Nagaland Institute of Medical Sciences & Research- NIMSR) at Phriebagie, Kohima, due to funds crisis, the state government jumped to deny. The government response to the report was that there was no fund shortage. The report had stated that the state government has been seeking more funds from the centre and cited the chief minister’s letter dated September 6,2021 addressed to the prime minister to take over construction and to upgrade it to the level of All India Institute of Medical Science (AIIMS).In response the minister of health and family welfare Dr.Mansukh Mandiviya in his letter dated January 22,2022 said that the Centre had already released its full share of funds to the tune of Rs.170.10 crore to Nagaland for the Rs.189 crore project. The fund of Rs.170.10 crore was to the state under a scheme: “establishment of new medical colleges attached with existing district/referral hospitals” with 100 MBBS seats and funding ratio of 90(centre) :20 (State). The official of the state health and family welfare department also pointed out that the department was yet to receive the State share amounting to Rs. 18.90 crore. Further, the official also disclosed that the department had send a proposal to the government to release Rs. 77.6 crore. The project envisages upgradation of district/referral hospitals(NHAK) having 100 beds to 150/200 to medical college. The NHAK is at one end and the proposed teaching and administrative campus is located some 6.5 kms away. The government had sought to dismiss any concern about distance between the teaching and administrative campus with the hospital by saying it was not an issue since some other medical colleges also had the teaching campus and hospital at some distance to each other. However, those who have experienced the terrible traffic snarl in Kohima will testify that during office and rush hour, vehicles in Kohima move at snail ‘s pace and it could take even an hour if not more to reach one end from the other. In what could be a subtle way of using the Kohima war angle, the state government has officially approached the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to fund another 400-bedded hospital project at the new site near the NIMSR at Phriebagie. The Japanese government had 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. JICA India chief development specialist Vineet S Sarin had informed Nagaland Post on March 3 in Kohima that the proposed loan for the project would include Rs 177 crore for civil works and Rs 72 crore for medical equipment. This means the NMC, after fully having utilised the Central fund, has been turned to NIMSR and expanded beyond the scheme for upgradation of a 100-bedded district hospital. The NIMSR will no longer be an upgraded district hospital but a totally different and full fledged medical college made possible through a subtle twist in getting fund from the Centre for the district hospital and later, funding from the Japanese government for the 400-bedded hospital.

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