Minister for gas relief and rehabilitation Vishwas Sarang has denied reports that the MP government wanted to take over the Centre-run Bhopal Memorial Hospital and Research Centre.
“We never said the state would take over BMHRC. Those were rumours,” Sarang said. “It is a tertiary health care unit, and the kind of budget required for it can only be sanctioned by the Centre. All such plans (for the state to take over the hospital) has no truth in them.”
Sarang’s statement contradicts several previous statements made by various functionaries of the state government, including those on record.
Speculations were rife that the state might take charge of BMHRC as far back as 2014, when chief minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan complained about the functioning of the hospital under the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), a division of the department of health research (DHR).
Later, Chouhan declared that the state would take over the hospital so that it can function properly.
The proposal gained momentum in November this year, when state health minister Rustam Singh said principal secretary (health) Gauri Singh had written to the Centre about the government’s plan after 15 doctors at BMHRC resigned.
Recently, Singh also met DHR officials to discuss the issue of BMHRC takeover.
However, gas victims and BMHRC employees had repeatedly opposed the state’s plan.
Gas victim activist Abdul Jabbar said, “Both the Centre and the state are passing the buck in the case of BMHRC.”