Conceived by Congress govt, AIIMS-Bilaspur sees light of the day after 7 years

Being a central place and connecting state highways with the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway, Ner Chowk in Himachal Pradesh was most suitable location to establish AIIMS, feel health experts

AIIMS Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh
AIIMS Bilaspur in Himachal Pradesh
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Bipin Bhardwaj

Conceived by the Congress government in 2014, the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) finally saw light of the day almost seven years with the Member of Parliament and National BJP President J.P. Nadda inaugurating the OPD of this premier healthcare institution in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh on Sunday.

On December 4, 2017, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had laid the foundation stone for a Rs. 3151-crore AIIMS project in Bilaspur.

The location of this premier healthcare institution -AIIMS- was approved by the erstwhile Congress government led by Chief Minister late Virbhadra Singh in Bilaspur district despite demand from Kangra, Mandi and Hamirpur.

While the then state Health Minister Kaul Singh Thakur was keen on setting-up the AIIMS in Mandi, Transport Minister G.S. Bali had been lobbying for Kangra, Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and MP Anurag Thakur were interested in Hamirpur only.

Senior Congress leader and the then state health minister Kaul Singh Thakur, was keen in setting-up the AIIMS at Ner Chowk in Mandi, his home district. He had even suggested that premises of the ECI Hospital and College, Ner Chowk be transferred to the AIIMS.

Highly placed sources disclosed that Nadda, who was holding the portfolio of Union Health Minister in 2014, had requested Thakur Kaul Singh to allocate government land in Kothipura for setting up this project in his home district.

However, the location of the AIIMS has been termed wrong by the general public in Bilaspur due to its proximity with other premier healthcare institutions like Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital (IGMCH), Shimla and PGIMER, Chandigarh.

To reach the IGMCH, Shimla, it takes almost 2.30 hours from Bilaspur while 2.00 hours to reach the PGIMER, Chandigarh. Being a central place and connecting state highways with the Chandigarh-Manali National Highway, Ner Chowk was the most suitable location to establish the AIIMS, feel health experts.

“Honouring Nadda ji’s request, I gave a go ahead to the project in a cabinet meeting in December 2014,” recalled Thakur Kaul Singh while talking to National Herald.

“The decision on the location of AIIMS was taken after taking into consideration the proximity and demand even after conducting surveys in Solan, Mandi, Hamirpur, Una and Shimla districts. The location for setting up of the AIIMS was finalised at Bilaspur keeping into consideration the benefits of people of the state at large,” claimed Singh.

The AIIMS Bilaspur would be made fully functional within next six months and people of the State as well as entire region would get highly specialized facilities within Himachal, said Nadda while addressing a gathering at the felicitation ceremony of Covid Vaccination Workers on the historic occasion.

Besides Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur, Nadda was also accompanied by Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister of Health, Chemicals and Fertilizers , Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Youth Affairs and Sports, Dr. Rajiv Saizal, State Health and Family Welfare Minister and some other dignitaries.

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