Proposed medical colleges yet to take off

Srinagar: Two years after the Congress led government announced that five medical colleges would be set up in Jammu and Kashmir, the ambitious multi-crore project has not taken off yet.
Two colleges were supposed to come up in Anantnag and Baramulla districts while three would have been set up in Jammu’s Kathua, Rajouri and Doda districts. However, a senior official, who was part of the team that held a meeting with the Government of India’s health ministry last month, said not a single penny has been granted by the central government for the multi-crore project despite completing official formalities.
Former health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had announced the proposal for establishment of the colleges during the UPA-II government’s last leg. Each college, with an intake capacity of 100 students, was supposed to come up with 90:10 financial assistance from the central government. Initially, the latter had earmarked around Rs 190 crore for setting up the colleges.
The state government, the senior official said, has submitted a detailed project report twice, including a revised one recently. “There has been no positive development from the central government’s side. We are awaiting their official nod to start work on these colleges,” he told Kashmir Reader.
It was also learnt that the health and medical education department had contemplated enrolling students in these colleges – as an initial measure – last year, but the proposal was turned down by New Delhi.
The official said the health ministry has delayed the project because of some “minor” issues in the transfer of land in Kathua and Doda. “The rest of the sites proposed for the colleges were clear in terms of land, and nothing was pending against them. But the funds were not cleared,” he added.
Soon after taking over, late CM Mufti Mohammad Sayeed had finalised land at Doda after the previous regime led by Omar Abdullah put the project on the backburner. The land in Doda as well as Kathua had to be acquired, which, officials said, led to the delay.
On January 15, a team of officials held a meeting with the health ministry in New Delhi and the latter assured them that funds would be released. “They (health ministry) were satisfied with the formalities and we expect the funds will be released now,” the official said.