PM to lay foundation stone for AIIMS on Sunday

Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (PTI File Photo)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on Sunday lay foundation stone for constructing prestigious All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in this temple town and inaugurate modern facilities at two hospitals elsewhere in Tamil Nadu.

After laying foundation stone for AIIMS, Modi will address a massive public meeting in which BJP functionaries and cadre from 10 Lok Sabha constituencies in southern Tamil Nadu are expected to participate. Modi’s public meeting would effectively launch the BJP’s campaign for Lok Sabha polls in Tamil Nadu.

Modi, who will be in Madurai just for two hours, will participate in the ground-breaking ceremony for AIIMS, which will be built in two years’ time, at a cost of Rs 1,264 crore. He will also inaugurate modern facilities at Government hospitals in Madurai, Thanjavur and Tirunelveli built at a cost of Rs 150 crore each with assistance from the Union Government.

Modi had during his 2014 election campaign promised to construct an AIIMS in Tamil Nadu, but the delay by the state government in identifying the location made it a protracted battle. The ruling AIADMK itself was divided on the location – while some wanted the prestigious institution to be located in Thanjavur in the Cauvery delta region, the rest preferred Madurai as it would help serve people from nine districts in Southern Tamil Nadu.

Finally, the government identified huge tracts of land in Thoppur in Madurai prompting the Centre to give its approval in December last year. The multi-speciality premier hospital, which is expected to start operations in two years, will have 20 super speciality departments and 750 beds.  The medical college attached to AIIMS will also have 100 MBBS seats and 60 B. Sc (Nursing) seats.

“The Prime Minister, apart from laying foundation stone for AIIMS, will also inaugurate new buildings and facilities at government hospitals in Thanjavur, Madurai and Tirunelveli. The health infrastructure in these areas would get further boost from Sunday,” Health Minister C Vijayabhaskar said.  

By laying the foundation stone for the AIIMS just a couple of months before the elections, the BJP is trying to make it a cornerstone of its campaigning. The party has been reaching out to the people by saying that the Modi government has brought numerous development projects to the state.

The 10 Lok Sabha seats in Southern Tamil Nadu are Madurai, Theni, Sivaganga, Virudhunagar, Ramanathapuram, Tirunelveli, Kanniyakumari, Tenkasi, Thoothukudi and Dindigul.  The BJP won only Kanniyakumari and its ally PMK Dharmapuri of 39 seats they contested. This time, the party is trying to cobble up a rainbow coalition.

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