Eco blockade call over medical college delay

Talcher: Two local civil society outfits have called for separate economic blockades protesting inordinate delay in setting up of a medical college in the town proposed by Mahanadi Coalfields Limited (MCL).

While Talcher Surakhya Manch will start economic blockade by paralysing mining activities among other services from July 14, Talcher Bar Association has called for the blockade in the industrial belt here from July 28.

The decision was taken at a meeting recently following allegations that the company is deliberately delaying the process.

However, refuting the allegations, MCL director (Personnel) P.C. Panigrahi said that all necessary formalities for setting up the Rs 492-crore college have been completed.

“In March, we got possession of land after forest clearance which delayed the work. We have finished all official procedures like awarding contract which has been given to National Building Construction Corporation (NBCC), a Central government undertaking. Hence, there is no point in resorting to such agitation which will only result in huge losses to the nation,” he said.

Sources said a memorandum was signed between the State government and Coal India in 2008 to set up a 100-seat medical college and 500-bed hospital attached to it in this industrial town as part of the company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities. Its construction work is expected to be completed by 2016.

While the State has three government-run medical colleges and hospitals at Cuttack, Berhampur and Sambalpur, the Centre approved to upgrade five more medical colleges at Balasore, Baripada, Bolangir, Koraput and Puri, the sources added.

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