The process of setting up of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Assam started with the Assam government formally handing over the land for the health institute at Changsari, near Guwahati in a function in the presence of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

The state government also announced that an All India Institute of Ayurveda will be set up at Raha.

Addressing the function, Sonowal said the setting of the AIIMS would fulfil a long pending demand of the people of the state. He said the centre’s initiative for setting up of the premier health institute in the state has proved Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s love for Assam.

Sonowal said the AIIMS would not only improve the healthcare scenario in the state but also give a boost to health education sector. He pointed out that though people of different parts of the state are agitating for setting up of the AIIMS in their areas, the state government had very little say in the selection of the site as the location was chosen by an expert committee set up by the central government.

The chief minister also said that the state government would take effective measures in improving the healthcare facilities in the Barak Valley and hill districts of the state.

Speaking on the occasion, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that an All India Institute of Ayurveda would be set up at Raha. He said the state government had selected seven sites for the AIIMS, but the expert committee of the Centre finally gave its nod for Changsari. He admitted that after handing over of the land, three more issues would have to be resolved – road communication, water supply and electricity.

Sarma said the state government has already sanctioned an amount of Rs 8.80 crore to the Assam Power Distribution Company Limited for power supply. Likewise, another amount of Rs 10.79 crore has been sanctioned to the state PWD for road communication, while Rs 29 crore has been sanctioned to the PHED for water supply to the AIIMS site, he added.

Sarma also revealed that the AIIMS would have 18 super-speciality departments with 500 beds.

The health minister said that during the tenure of Sonowal as a Union Minister, Rs 200 crore had been sanctioned for setting up of medical colleges in Lakhimpur, Nagaon and Dhubri. He said the land acquisition process would be completed by August 15 and the process of setting up of the medical colleges would be completed by 2019. He said the Diphu Medical College would be completed by 2017.

Sarma also revealed that steps have been initiated for upgrading the Guwahati Medical College Hospital and the Assam Medical College Hospital in Dibrugarh as super-speciality hospitals.

Additional Secretary of the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Arun Kumar Panda, who was also present in the function, said the AIIMS in Assam is among the 12 such institutes being set up in different parts of the country.

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