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Suryakant Jena

Bolangir: Just a few days after his comments that people of Odisha should not be deprived of the benefits of world’s largest healthcare coverage plan – Ayushman Bharat – on the grounds of political differences, Union Health Minister JP Nadda today urged the State Government to implement the Centre's flagship healthcare scheme along with its own Biju Swasthya Kalyan programme for better health protection for the people.

Nadda made his suggestion at the inauguration of Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital in Bolangir by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik.

"I urge the chief minister to adopt the Ayushman Bharat scheme of the central government along with the state's own programme. Both the Centre and the state should work together for protection of people's health," he said.

The Centre has always supported the state government in strengthening its health system, the Union minister said.

If Odisha does not implement the Ayushman Bharat scheme, many who need the benefits most may be deprived of them, he said, adding people covered under the central scheme would be able to get free health service even outside their states.

He urged the Odisha government to implement the Deendayal AMRIT Scheme in all medical colleges in the state to enable patients get branded medicines at affordable prices.

During the function, Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said opening of the long-awaited medical college and hospital is a milestone in healthcare sector for western Odisha. “It has fulfilled the dreams of the people of western Odisha and will go a long way in providing quality healthcare service in the area,” Patnaik said.

Iterating his government's commitment to provide improved health service to the people, the CM further said that the state government is making a constant effort to improve healthcare and medical education in remote and tribal-dominated areas.

It is pertinent to note that the medical college and hospital has been constructed at a cost of Rs 300 crore, of which Rs 205 crore was given by the state government and the rest by the Centre.

A total of 100 students have enrolled for the first batch of the institution beginning this academic session, sources said.

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