Odisha Sun Times Bureau
Bhubaneswar, Mar 2:
Union minister for Labour and Employment Oscar Fernandes laid the foundation stone for an Employees’ State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Medical College and Hospital at Khandagiri here on Sunday.
Union minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Srikant Jena, Odisha’s Labour & Employment Minister Bijayshree Routray and Bhubaneswar MP Prasanna Patsani were present on the occasion.
The hospital would come up on 25 acres of land at a projected cost of Rs 701 crore.
The hospital will have 500 beds while the medical college will have 100 MBBS seats in the first phase as per the guidelines of the Medical Council of India (MCI).
Responding to Rajya Sabha MP Ramachandra Khuntia’s demand for a second ESI Hospital in the state, preferably in western Odisha, the Union Minister said he would consider such a demand favourably if the number of insured in the state warrants the setting up of a second hospital.
But the visit of Fernandes bears greater significance because he is also the head of the AICC screening committee for the selection of Congress candidates from Odisha for the ensuing elections. The visit comes at a time when the process to finalise the names of the candidates for the 21 Lok Sabha seas in the state has entered the last leg.
During his visit, Fernades is likely to meet some party leaders to discuss the wining prospects of the candidates who have been recommended by Pradesh Election Committee (PEC).
He might also discuss with party leaders the issue of Opposition leader Bhupinder Singh, who has remained incommunicado for the last two days amid rumours about his plans to quit the party, sources in the Congress said.