TMC woman's rally being led by Chandrima Bhattacharya. (Express Photo by Subham Dutta)
A fresh row between the Centre and state erupted after the Union Health Ministry wrote to state BJP president and Medinipur MP Dilip Ghosh, apprising him of its decision to upgrade the Jalpaiguri District Hospital to medical college. The TMC-led state government alleged that the central government has “kept it in the dark”.
The letter from Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Harsh Vardhan, was sent to Ghosh on January 23. Vardhan’s letter said, “It gives me immense pleasure to inform that Government of India has sanctioned opening of a new government medical college by upgrading the Jalpaiguri district hospital in West Bengal.”
Vardhan also praised Ghosh in his letter saying, “Under Dilip Ghosh’s dynamic leadership the college will help in meeting the medical needs of residents of the region and ensure a healthy and prosperous India.”
The state BJP unit posted the news on the social networking site and claimed that the medical college was the result of the joint effort of Ghosh and Jalpaiguri MP Jayanta Roy, who had raised the matter with the Centre several times. It also claimed with the establishment of the college, “there will be a massive improvement of healthcare facilities in North Bengal”.
The state government strongly criticised the move and alleged that the Centre was “bypassing” it while taking the decision. Minister of State for Health Chandrima Bhattacharya said, “We had sent such a proposal to the Centre long back. But we have not been officially intimated about the sanction. I am totally in the dark. How can the Centre announce a decision to upgrade a district hospital under the control of the state government without informing us? Unless you discuss it with the state government, you can never implement the decision pertaining to such an important district hospital.”
State minister and TMC leader from north Bengal Gautam Deb said, “I know nothing about the letter. The whole thing is ridiculous. Who is Dilip Ghosh? Why should such a letter be sent to him? I am totally confused as to how a government medical college will be built and ran under his leadership”.
Reacting to the state government’s criticism, Ghosh said, “They are very irritated as they now cannot claim the credit for the hospital. It has been a regular practice for the Mamata Banerjee government to claim credit for all central projects.”
“And why are they so surprised? Our government has taken a decision and informed me. That’s all. I have repeatedly appealed to the Union government for establishing the medical college. The Jalpaiguri MP has also done so.”
Taking a dig at Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee for skipping meetings with the central government, Ghosh said: “They don’t go anywhere, they don’t hold discussions. So why would they be informed?”