Chhattisgarh Assembly on Wednesday passed a Bill to acquire a private medical college in Durg amidst uproar by the opposition in the state Assembly.

“We had announced the acquisition of Chandulal Chandrakar Memorial Medical College, Kachandur in a program organized on February 2, 2021, on the occasion of the death anniversary of Late Shri Chandulal Chandrakar. This decision has been taken in the larger interest of people in the state and for the students of the college. A committee of senior officers was constituted under the chairmanship of the Chief Secretary to examine all aspects of acquisition at the government level. After the committee recommended the acquisition, a bill was prepared to take over the college and it was approved by the cabinet ministers”, Chief Minister Bhupesh Bhagel said in the Assembly.

Bhagel said, “In last several years, many measures have been taken and hundreds of crores have been spent to strengthen the health services in the state. The outbreak of the Coronavirus pandemic is likely to continue in the future as well. Ensuring the availability of doctors in rural areas is still a challenge. It takes 400 to 500 crore rupees and a period of 3 to 4 years to build a new medical college.”

“There are still many students (future doctors) studying in Chandulal Chandrakar Memorial Medical College. The medical college is on the verge of closing down, due to which the future of the students studying there is uncertain. Acquisition of this medical college would produce 150 new doctors every year”, said the Chief Minister.

Bhaghel informed that the medical college will be acquired under the rules of land acquisition. Assessment of property is to be done only under the provisions of land acquisition. Instead of paying four times the guideline in rural areas, the cabinet has decided to evaluate it up to two times. No amount shall be paid or any other liability shall be incurred in addition to the amount fixed. The government will not bear the burden of other legal, financial liability of the promoters of the medical college. The process would be completely transparent.

Chhattisgarh Health minister TS Singh Deo, who piloted the bill in the assembly welcomed it and said the acquisition of the college was a step towards providing health facilities to the poor and common people. “Given the COVID-19 pandemic situation, this is the best time to run a government medical college in the state”, said Deo.

While the Chhattisgarh Chandulal Chandrakar Memorial Medical College, Durg (Acquisition) Bill, 2021, was being passed in the Chhattisgarh Assembly, opposition parties created an uproar in the House.

Former Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh, Raman Singh said, “The state government should have upgraded an existing 600-bed government hospital in Durg rather than acquiring a loss-making private medical college.”

BJP MLA Brijmohan Agrawal also said, “the bill is aimed at benefitting only a few selected people. The state government is playing against the interest of people who lent crores of rupees to the college.”

Uproar surfaced after the Chhattisgarh government reportedly planned to take over, through a Bill, a financially-strapped medical college that was owned by a family into which Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s daughter has married.

On July 27, Baghel in a tweet in Hindi said, “All speculations over Chandulal Chandrakar matter baseless. It’s effort to protect future of a medical college & scores of students. I’m answerable to people of state. I’ve always done transparent politics. Everything will be clear if there’s a deal.” (ANI)