Darbhanga Hospital not heritage building: Bihar govt to Centre; Health min okays setting up AIIMS there

Payal Banerjee

New Delhi, Jan 9 (PTI) The Bihar government has informed the Union Health ministry that the building of Darbhanga Medical Hospital does not fall under heritage category, paving the way for the setting up a second AIIMS in the state in the campus of the medical facility.

The land identified and proposed by the state government for developing an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital campus was earlier rejected by the Centre.

But with the state government giving certain clarifications, including regarding the heritage status of the campus building, and various commitments concerning infrastructure, the proposal has finally been approved by Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan, officials said.

A proposal will now be sent to the Cabinet and according to sources the construction work for the second AIIMS is likely to start by the end of this year.

The cost for setting up the AIIMS is expected to be around Rs 1,300 crore, an official said. The state government has offered a 200-acre land within the Darbhanga Medical College and Hospital campus.

In the fresh proposal recently sent by the state government, the health ministry has also been assured that the four-lane road connectivity from the institute to NH-57 and a railway over bridge shall be provided.

The Bihar government further made the commitment of making available 75 acres of land in six months and the cost of the required sand filling shall be borne by it.

'The state government has told the health ministry that the building of Dharbhanga Medical Hospital is not heritage,' a ministry official said.

The Union government in January 2019 had rejected the proposed land for development of AIIMS after a Central team that carried out an inspection of the site raised concerns and pointed out deficiencies pertaining to its suitability.

The team had flagged lack of proper drainage system for discharge of treated nd storm water and that the present approach roads to the proposed AIIMS site was very congested. It also stated that a four-lane road connectivity to the campus from state roads or national highway and from city arterial road is essential.

The Central team had raised concern over a 20-acres land which falls on the other side of the railway track and observed that in order for it to be of any use, the state government will have to provide at least a 2-lane rail over bridge to give smooth connectivity to the main campus for the faculty and staff.

It has now been decided that the 20-acre land would be utilised for residential purposes.

The Central team had also flagged concerns regarding power availability in the region. It observed that many buildings and offices like bank, post office, BSNL yard and police station, on the land offered are functional in the campus which need to be relocated.

Since making available encumbrance-free site is absolutely critical for the project to take off, the state would need to remove the existing structures in a time-bound manner, the team had stated.

A public interest litigation was filed in the Patna High Court over delay in the setting up of the second AIIMS in Bihar, following which the court directed both the Centre and state to expedite the process.

The project was announced in the 2015-16 Union Budget following which the Centre had asked the state to identify suitable locations of around 200 acres with road connectivity and availability of water. PTI PLB PLB NSD NSD