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BJP’s Sambit Patra slams Odisha CM for not inviting anyone from Centre to open medical college

Patra pointed out that the college was established under a centrally sponsored scheme, and expressed disbelief that it was being inaugurated 'without informing' the Centre.

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New Delhi: BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra criticised Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik’s scheduled visit to Puri Monday to inaugurate the Sri Jagannath Medical College & Hospital (SJMCH) over alleged discourtesy shown by the state to the central government.

In a Twitter post Sunday, Patra called it “astonishing” that the inauguration was done without a “courtesy call to the central govt to participate”.

The BJP leader expressed disbelief about how a college/hospital established under a “Centrally Sponsored Scheme” was being inaugurated without informing the Centre.

He further pointed out that in a letter dated 6 January the health secretary had instructed all state governments to inform them regarding inauguration of any centrally-sponsored medical college.

“I don’t understand what’s the reason behind the clandestine inauguration by CM Odisha without keeping the Central govt in loop!” he wrote.

The letter mentioned by Patra was issued by Health Secretary Rajesh Bhushan to chief secretaries of all states and UTs stating that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare was implementing a Centrally Sponsored Scheme under which 157 colleges were approved.

The letter further noted that any inauguration/foundation-laying ceremony scheduled by the state government/UTs should be informed to the ministry.

“It is also advised that the convenience of the Honourable Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare be sought for finalising a foundation lying/inauguration function in respect of these medical colleges, with joint participation of dignitaries of concerned state government/UT and the Government of India,” the letter added.

War of words

Soon after Patra’s tweet, a war of words erupted on social media. Twitter users who agreed with Patra pleaded with the central government to take charge of the building if they didn’t want to “lose the 2024 election on health matters”. Others attacked the Odisha CM for “stooping low”.

Some users also reminded Patra that the state pays 40 per cent towards the scheme and questioned him why he was politicising the event.

Puri MP Pinaki Misra also commented that the total cost of SJMCH was Rs 634 crore, out of which central government funding was Rs 113 crore. He further pointed out how the recurring cost of Rs 40 crore annually will be borne completely by the state government.

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