The Central government will continue administering the Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre (BMHRC) after the state government made an unsuccessful bid to wrest control of the hospital dedicated for 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims.
The state government’s attempt over the last few months to take over the management of the hospital, citing poor management, failed to find ground at a high-level meeting chaired by Union health minister J P Nadda in Delhi on Friday.
Centre’s department of health research (DHR) will continue running the medical institution, the meeting, comprising state health department principal secretary, Gauri Singh and DHR officials, decided.
“A meeting was held on Friday and BMHRC will continue to be under central government administration,” Singh said on Saturday, adding that the state government would help in its functioning.
She also said that the Centre has assured improvement in the operations and conditions of BMHRC and that sufficient funding would be provided for the same.
The decision has come as a big relief for the 700 employees of the hospital who opposed the takeover fearing lower salaries.
“We are very happy. We will still be central government employees. The hospital would also get better doctors if DHR really focuses on it,” said Kisun Sahu, head of paramedical staff union.
The state government had been trying to take over the hospital, since 2014 citing poor management by the central department.
The proposal gained momentum after state health minister Rustam Singh said last month that Gauri Singh had written to the Centre in this regard following the resignation of 15 doctors of the hospice, which also lacks many specialists required for treating the gas victims.
Chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan had urged Nadda to hand over the hospital to the state.
Activists representing the gas victims too had opposed the takeover, with Abdul Jabbar of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sangathan (BGPMUS) saying that BMHRC is the “only hope for 5 lakh gas victims”. “At least there are proper technologies and equipments in BMHRC,” he said.
However, minister of state for gas relief and rehabilitation Vishwas Sarang had on Thursday assured gas victims that no such action will be taken and BMHRC would continue to function under DHR.
Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre is a referral and tertiary care centre for the thousands of gas tragedy victims who are first seen at the primary care level in the 8 mini units (satellite health centres) spread around in the city, and then referred to the advanced and specialized departments at the hospital.