The Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital finally saw the light of the day, after two decades, with Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurating it in the presence of Union Health Minister J P Nadda and others and even hinting at the hurdles that he had to overcome to establish it.

While the CM and his health minister Pratap Jena went on to list out the state government’s achievements in health care sector Mr Nadda highlighted the schemes of the centre and the money that it had provided to the state and Congress leader of Opposition in the Assembly Narasingha Mishra noting that the project was conceived in 1999 and UPA health minister Gulam Nabi Azad had in 2013 made the announcement with fund allotted for it.

Effectively each party leader tried to claim credit. Mr Nadda virtually pleaded with the state government to open Deen Dayal Amrit branded medicine outlets at the government medical college hospitals in the state and also urged upon the state to join the Ayushman Bharat scheme.

The Union Health Minister made it a point to refer to the free medical tests, dialysis and annual maintenance of equipment schemes of the centre – implicitly trying to dispel the notion that these were state run schemes.

Mr Nadda said the state ought to join the Ayushman Bharat programme as it has multiple benefits including coverage of migrant workers.

It may be noted that Odisha has rejected the scheme as it is on 2011 census data which leaves out 34 lakh families whereas the state’s own Biju Swashtya yojana has more coverage.

The centre has a target of wellness centres at the sub centre health unit level so that by 2020 all those in the age of 30 are screened , he said.

The union minister referred to the establishment of the AIIMS Bhubaneswar, a satellite centre of the AIIMS proposed to come up at Balasore, upgrading district hospitals and Rs 7000 crore given to the state under the NHM.

In his brief speech CM Naveen Patnaik said it was a historic day as the Bhima Bhoi Medical College and Hospital has been inaguruated and of the MBBS students who have taken admission 16 are from Bolagir distirct and 13 from Bargarh district.

Odisha government is committed to a health delivery system which reaches out to the doorstep of the people, he said. He said the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana has been launched from 15 August ( unlike the Ayushman Bharat which is yet to be launched).

State Health Minister Pratap Jena said over the last three years the number of MBBS seats in the state had been increased from 450 to 1050.

He listed out the lakhs that are being provided as incentive to professors and assistant professors who work in remote areas.

Local MP Kalikesh Singh Deo lauded the efforts of the Chief Minister and thanked the people of Bolangir who had successfully persisted with the project for years.

Leader of Opposition in the assembly and local MLA Narasingha Mishra traced the history of the much delayed project and said it was first mooted in 1999 by the Western Odisha Development Council. But it got stalled due to certain reasons till under the UPA government Mr Gulam Nabi Azad took it up providing 75 per cent of the funds.

Significantly Mr Mishra profusely thanked chief minister Naveen Patnaik for having resisted various pressures while naming the institute and for providing the required land. He requested the CM to establish an agriculture university in Bolangir as had been promised by him a few years ago.

Earlier the BJD had organised a procession to welcome its leaders, put up posters of AU Singh Deo, Kalikesh and Arkesh Singh Deo as well as that of the CM.

The BJP took organised a rally to welcome Mr J P Nadda and the Congress had posters of Narasingha Mishra. A statue of famous poet Bhima Bhoi, after whom the institute named, was unveiled by the CM.