By bappaditya paul
RAILWAYS ministry has dropped the plan for upgrade of railway hospitals into medical colleges in public private partnership (PPP) as was announced by Mamata Banerjee in the 2009-10 Railways Budget.
This after the ministry later found out that the Medical Council of India rules did not permit PPP with government hospitals anywhere in the country. Indian Railways and all its wings are owned by the Central government.
The matter came to light on Friday when the minister of state for railways, Manoj Sinha, replied to a query put forward by CPI-M Rajya Sabha MP Ritabrata Banerjee.
Ritabrata had sought to know if the Railways has set up any medical college in West Bengal as was announced by then railways minister Mamata Banerjee in her Budget speech during the UPA-II regime.
Answering the query, Sinha replied: “The then Honourable Minister of Railways during her Budget speech 2009-10 had announced ‘Medical colleges are planned to be established attached to existing railway hospitals through PPP, to give higher education facilities to new generation of railway children.”
“As per Medical Council of India rules, Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Government (Railway) hospital is not permitted. The Ministry have, therefore, dropped the proposal of setting up of Railway Medical Colleges.”
Ritabrata posted on his Twitter handle minister Sinha’s printed reply, and wrote: “Ministry of Railways – setting up of Med Colleges by our CM is not permitted at all! D cat is out of d bag!!”
It may be recalled that Mamata Banerjee as the Railways minister in 2009-10 announced that she had plans to upgrade a number of railway hospital in West Bengal, including the Tapan Sinha Memorial Hospital of Metro Railway in Kolkata, into medical colleges.
West Bengal has a number of super speciality railway hospitals, namely, the BR Singh Hospital at Sealdah, Railway Orthopaedic Hospital at Howrah, Central Hospital Garden Reach, NF Railway Hospital at New Jalpaiguri etc.