Normal life was disrupted in Odisha’s Kalahandi district today following a 48-hour bandh called by Kalahandi Medical College Kriyanusthan Committee demanding government status to Sardar Rajas Medical College at Jaring in the district.
All trading establishments remained closed while vehicular traffic came to a grinding halt in Bhawanipatna, Kesinga, Junagarh and Dharmagarh towns in the district.
However, essential services like supply of drinking water and health services were kept out of the purview of the bandh by the Committee.
Several opposition political parties and the Kalahandi District Bar Association have extended support to the bandh call. Besides, the private bus owners’ association, traders’ association and labour unions have also supported the bandh.
“There was a massive agitation by the people in the district in 2004 demanding a 500-bedded medical college and hospital. As there is no speciality hospital in the district, the patients usually move to Vizag, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Burla and Raipur to get better treatment spending a lot of money. Following the agitation, the state government had entrusted the Rajas Group of Institutions to set up a medical college and hospital in the district. But the fact remains that the Rajas Group of Institutions has no medical colleges and the teaching faculty. Besides, the company is not financially sound to set up a medical college and hospital which requires an investment of at least Rs 400-500 crore,” senior Congress leader and former Kalahandi MP Bhakta Charan Das told the media today.
The issue cropped up during Zero Hour in the State Assembly today with members cutting across party lines drawing the attention of the Speaker and demanding government takeover of the medical college and hospital keeping the future of the students in view.
“The matter is presently sub judice in the Odisha High Court. The state government, after the verdict of the court, will take necessary steps in consultation with the Medical Council of India (MCI),” Health and Family Welfare minister Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak said in his reply.
The minister also requested the agitators to withdraw the bandh call.