Kohima, September 9: Lack of labour force amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and also sinking of land at the construction site of the first Medical College in Nagaland under Kohima district is delaying completion of the premier health institute, said the State Health Minister.
Even as the Health and Family Welfare (HFW) Department has striving towards improving the health delivery system in the State but the very first Medical College at Phriebagei in Kohima district is yet to see the light of the day even after five years of laying the foundation stone for the Rs 189 crore dream project of the State.
Nagaland Chief Minister, Neiphiu Rio had laid the foundation of the first Medical College in 2014 in the presence of then Health & Family Welfare Minister, Imkong L Imchen of the Naga People’s Front government.
Interacting with media persons after the launch of the Naga Telehealth at his official chamber in Secretariat here Wednesday, HFW Minister, S Pangnyu Phom cited technical reasons including sinking of land and lack of labour force during the COVID-19 pandemic as the reasons behind the delay in completion of construction works of the medical college.
Nonetheless, among the several buildings, the contractor will be handing over some completed buildings, including a sports complex to the department.
On the problem of labour force faced by the contractors as the non-Naga labourers left the State during the COVID-19 pandemic, Phom said, “Our Naga people working outside the state are getting lesser than what is being paid here but they don’t want to work as labourers within the State”.
The Minister also said that another problem is the instability of the soil. Asked why the department had not undertaken a proper feasibility survey, Phom expressed ignorance saying it was approved before he took over the charge of the department.
Asked as to when construction will start for the second Medical College of the State in Mon district, which was sanctioned by the Central government on September 5, Minister Phom said the state government is working out modalities and memorandum so that works can begin by this year end.
“I have invited the Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan to lay the foundation stone to begin the construction works by December 2020,” he said.
On the criticisms from various corners, especially in social media platforms that the state government has initiated a second medical college without making the first medical college functional, Minister Phom said the Central government has also expressed similar concern.
But, he said, the Medical College in Mon district is very peculiar as it comes under ‘uncovered area’ among the 75 colleges sanctioned all over the country.
The projected cost of the second Medical College in the State is estimated at Rs 323 crore, he said, adding that it is located in Chi village, within 8 kms distance of Mon town.
Asked whether there is any land dispute, the Minister replied in negative while asserting that the Konyak Union, the apex tribal body of the district and other tribal organisations are united and very supportive towards the completion of the project.
“It is a big advantage for the department and state government,” said the Minister. (Page News Service)