Kohima, February 26 (NEx): Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, Dr. Harsh Vardhan laid the foundation stone of Mon Medical College at District Hospital Mon today.
Addressing the occasion, Dr. Harsh Vardhan expressed his heartfelt gratitude to the people of Mon for the heartwarming welcome on his arrival. He stated that he brings good wishes and blessings from the Prime Minister and assured that the warm sentiments of the people of Mon shall be conveyed to the Prime Minister.
The Minister stated that the laying of the foundation stone shows the commitment of the Government to ensure that the people of the most remote and interior parts of the country are not deprived of development. He added that the Prime Minister has a huge mission for the country, to make changes in all fields.
The Union Minister congratulated Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Minister of Health and Family Welfare S Pangnyu Phom for the proactive steps taken towards bringing the project into reality.
Dr. Harsh Vardhan stated that since coming into power in 2014, there are 157 Medical Colleges across the country under various stages of development, with Mon Medical College being part of the 75 Medical Colleges approved by the Centre in 2019. He said that the vision of creating 75 new medical colleges was to improve the healthcare facilities in areas which have been deprived of development over the decades.
The Minister further stated that in 5 – 6 years, the Government has been able to increase the number of MBBS seats from 50,000 to 80,000 and 20,000 more Post Graduate seats. He also stated that 1,50,000 Health and Wellness Centres (HWC) are in the process of development across the country with 370 such HWCs under progress in Nagaland. He also urged upon the people and the State Government to ensure that all the poor are covered under Ayushman Bharat. He added that the Centre’s assurance of support to Nagaland and North East was not just in theory but out of pure intention and concern for the region.
The Minister also took time to highlight the great work done by Covid warriors who risked their own lives for the safety of all, and said that because of the contribution of Covid warriors, India has the highest recovery rate and the lowest death rate. He also appreciated the ASHA workers and urged upon the Government to provide full support to such grassroots field workers.
The Minister stated that he along with all the Health Ministers and the PM along with all the CMs worked together with utmost diligence to tackle the Covid crisis. He further acknowledged the State Government for tackling the crisis appropriately.
He also expressed his vision to eliminate Tuberculosis (TB) from the country by 2025 which is 5 years prior to the global goal 2030. “India despite being a big country, if we could eliminate Smallpox and Polio, if India could survive Covid-19, we can definitely eliminate TB by 2025”, the Minister added. He urged the CM to make a commitment to eliminate TB in the State much before 2025.
The Minister also spoke about the problem of maternal mortality and urged the Government to reduce the maternal mortality rate. “Pregnancy is a boon and not a curse”, he added.
He also expressed desire for India to be the first nation to achieve the goal of health for all and appealed the people and children of Mon to contribute towards the realisation of the dream of the PM for a new India by 2022 when India celebrates its 75th Independence Day.
“A new India where there is a smile in all faces, where the children are safe and secure, where dignity of women is valued, where senior citizens are taken care of and proper healthcare for the poor is available, a country filled with humanism and nationalism”, he added.
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, while addressing the gathering stated that he was privileged to be part of this historic occasion and on behalf of the State, expressed gratitude to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan. He also acknowledged the presence of Dr. Harsh Vardhan for laying of the foundation stone despite his busy schedule. He stated that his presence exhibits the Government’s concern and commitment for the region.
He stated that when Kiphire got the “Aspirational District”, he thought of doing something for Mon. The opportunity came when PM came up with the brilliant idea to set up 75 medical colleges in regions which were earlier deprived of development in various parameters where Mon district was eligible, he added.
Rio stated that with the completion of Mon Medical College, it would not only benefit Mon and Nagaland but also the neighbouring States of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and across the border into Myanmar. It will not only solve the problem of shortage of healthcare manpower but also provide the region with better healthcare facilities, he said. Rio urged the people to make the college a centre of excellence and also think of ways to attract people to work and study there.
Rio stated that Mon Medical College would be completed on a turnkey basis where only one company will execute all the work to ensure timely completion. He also stated that the college would function/operate in a Public Private Partnership (PPP or 3P) model. Rio also highlighted about the 390 appointment made during the Pandemic in order to address the shortage of healthcare manpower in the State although fresh appointments has been banned. He appealed the people and the NGOs and CSOs to co-operate and support the project in order to make the long lasting dream into a reality.
Member of Parliament (Lok Sabha) Tokheho Yepthomi in his speech stated the dream of the people of Mon and Nagaland was made possible because of the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan, Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio and Minister Health & Family Welfare S Pangnyu Phom. He urged the people to fully cooperate and support the projec and to change our mindsets and welcome development with an open arm.
Minister of Health & Family Welfare, S Pangnyu Phom in his address, stated that Nagaland has never had the privilege of having 2 medical colleges being sanctioned by the Centre. He said that the desire to establish medical college was not only to produce more manpower but also to enhance healthcare delivery.
Pangnyu mentioned that the State at the time of Statehood inherited a deplorable state of healthcare facility, however over the years healthcare in the state has improved although much is needed to be done. He also said that most of the private healthcare is concentrated in Kohima and Dimapur and the rest are dependent on public healthcare, and that due to lack of facilities and equipment in public health care, most people from the other parts of Nagaland are not able to avail proper healthcare services. However with the completion of Mon Medical College, he expressed confidence that healthcare delivery in the region would greatly improve.
Giving an overview of the project, Principal Secretary Health & Family Welfare Amardeep S Bhatia, IAS said that the project cost is Rs. 325 crores. He said that 30 acres of land had been acquired and contour survey and sub soil strength/ geological survey has started and likely to be completed within a month. He stated that the project would be on a turnkey basis and would function/operate on a PPP model.
Speeches by Konyak Union and Eastern Nagaland People’s Organisation was also delivered by representatives. Both KU and ENPO expressed gratitude and appreciation to the PM, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and the State Government and assured full support and cooperation towards the completion of the project.
Advisor of Social Welfare, Home Guards & Civil Defence, Noke Wangnao delivered the vote of thanks where he appealed the people for cooperation and support and on behalf of the people of Mon, he expressed gratitude to Government of India, CM and Minister of Health Family Welfare Nagaland for giving Mon the opportunity to set up the Medical College.
Earlier upon his arrival, Dr. Harsh Vardhan gave the Rashtriya Salute in Mon Helipad. Cultural troops from various villages and organisations welcomed the Union Minister across the entire stretch from Helipad to District Hospital Mon. The event was attended by Nutan Goel wife of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Cabinet Ministers of Government of Nagaland, Advisors, Members of Legislative Assembly, District HoDs and other invitees.
(With inputs from DIPR)