Oppn MPs walk out of Lok Sabha after row over AIIMS Madurai campus construction

ByAnish Yande
Feb 10, 2023 03:11 PM IST

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said the education of Madurai AIIMS has started already, just the infrastructure is not present

Opposition members staged a walkout in the Lok Sabha on Friday over the alleged delay in the construction of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) Madurai campus.

Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. (PTI)
Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya. (PTI)

“How many colleges in India have started without infrastructure, and the construction of how many colleges which were inaugurated by the Prime Minister have not yet taken off?” asked Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam (DMK) member of Parliament (MP) Thalikkotai R. Baalu during a discussion on the setting up of medical colleges in India.

Responding to him, Union health minister Mansukh Mandaviya said, “Politics can be done on any issue. The politics which is being done here is misdirecting from the question regarding Madurai AIIMS. The education of Madurai AIIMS has started already, just the infrastructure is not present. Why are you giving the wrong information to people of AIIMS Madurai?”

Outraged Congress and DMK MPs raised a loud ruckus and staged a walkout following Mandaviya’s reply.

Earlier, DMK’s V Kalanidhi asked whether the government was aware that even after three years of laying down the foundation for the 1,276 crore AIIMS-Madurai project in 2019, the construction work had not begun. Kalanidhi demanded to know the steps taken towards its completion.

In response, the minister said that following the preparation of the inception report, campus master plan, facility planning, hospital design concept and equipment planning, a loan agreement was signed between the governments of Japan and India on March 26, 2021.

“Since the Cabinet approved project cost was 1,264 crore and the revised cost was estimated at 1,977.8 crore by JICA on account of inclusion of 150-bedded Infectious Diseases Block and some other facilities, the Ministry constituted the Revised Cost Estimate Committee (RCC) to examine the matter in detail,” he said.

“Thereafter, the Ministry submitted the proposal for financial appraisal along with report of the RCC to the Department of Expenditure (DoE). After examination, the DoE appraised and approved the proposal and it has been approved by this Ministry on October 11,2022,” the minister added.

The foundation stone for the AIIMS - Madurai project was laid in January 2019. The land was transferred by the state government to the Centre in February 2020.

In the meantime, MBBS classes for 50 students of AIIMS - Madurai commenced in April, 2022, from a temporary campus in consultation with the government of Tamil Nadu, from the academic session 2021-22. Announcements have been made for the second batch of 50 MBBS students for the academic session 2022-23.

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