New Delhi: Owing to the prevailing chasm between Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Bahujan Samaj Party supremo Mayawati, the ambitious project for the construction of an AIIMS like hospital in Rae Bareli has been lying in abeyance for more than three years. Ironically, the unwarranted delay comes at a time when the state faces a shortage of quality hospitals and treatment facilities.

Under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana, the construction of a super specialty AIIMS like hospital is still waiting for a nod from the Uttar Pradesh government. For the Congress and the BSP, the location for the construction of the hospital has become a matter of prestige.

While Congress led UPA government is adamant on it’s stand for the construction of the hospital in Rae Bareli, the parliamentary constituency of Gandhi, the BSP government is interested in getting the ambitious project shifted to some other district of the state.

Through  RTI, Dainik Jagran has raised the curtains on the ongoing silent war between the Centre and the state government. According to documents available, the Centre without consulting the state government announced the construction of the hospital in the Lalganj area of Rae Bareli district on March 5, 2008.

On April 15, the Centre asked a 100 acre land from the state government for the project. However, in a blatant reply to the request, the state government on June 23, 2008 clearly refused to provide the land for the hospital construction. Despite the state’s refusal, the Health Ministry took the Union Cabinet’s nod for the project in February 2009.

Proving its point on the entire issue, the state government argued that Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGI) is located on the Rae Bareli road and which is only 50 to 60 km away from the Rae Bareli city. Citing this reason, the state government has raised the demand for the construction of the AIIMS like hospital in either eastern UP or in the Bundelkhand region. The state has also recommended the name of Jhansi district for the hospital.

After seeing the alacrity on part of the state government, the officials of the Health Ministry on May 19, 2010 had even thought of approving the proposal for Jhansi. However, quick to react to the situation, Health Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad raised his objection over this issue.

He argued that the construction of the hospital in Rae Bareli is important under the second phase of PMSSY because in the third phase the Central government is contemplating on the extension of the Jhansi hospital.

As a result, the fate of the AIIMS like hospital worth Rs 823 crore in UP still hangs in a balance.

(JPN/Bureau)