An RTI reply has revealed that approvals have not been obtained from the union government for the setting up of an All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Madurai district of Tamil Nadu.
On September 5, Madurai-based RTI activist Hakkim Kasim had sought details regarding the setting up of AIIMS in Madurai’s Thoppur, a plan that has been in the works since former Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa proposed it to the union government in 2016.
Responding to this RTI query, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare said that approvals from the Expenditure Finance Committee and the Cabinet have not been obtained yet. The ministry also admitted that details on “fund allocation, construction company are not available as of now”.
This has kicked up a row in the state, with many questioning whether the state-of-the art hospital would, in fact, be set up in Tamil Nadu.
According to one report in The Hindu, Hakkim said, “This means that the Union government is not keen to bring AIIMS to Madurai soon. The State government is also not pushing for it.”
However, the Tamil Nadu government attempted to reassure citizens, stating that the facility will be set up as planned.
Speaking to Puthiya Thalaimurai, Health Secretary J Radhakrishnan said, “According to our information, a preliminary project report comprising details like where the hospital would come up, how the 172 quarters should be designed, where the space for the medical college should be given, etc., would be sent to the Expenditure Finance Committee and then to the Cabinet. Normally, they (the Centre) have six months to do this.”
Radhakrishnan also said that Central government officials had assured him that all preparations for the setting up of the hospital would be done well before the six-month deadline. They would also file a detailed project report and issue tenders accordingly, he added.