Kohima, September 9 (PTI): Nagaland Health Minister S Pangnyu Phom on Wednesday said lack of labour force amidst the COVID- 19 pandemic and soil problem at the construction site of the first medical college in Nagaland is delaying completion of the health institute.
The first medical college in Nagaland is being set up at Phriebagei in Kohima district. The foundation stone of the medical college was laid by Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio in 2014.
Interacting with journalists after the launch of the Naga Telehealth at his official chamber here on Wednesday, the Health minister cited technical reasons including "sinking of land" and lack of labour force during the COVID-19 pandemic as the reasons behind the delay in completion of construction works of the medical college.
On the problem of labour force faced by the contractors as the non-Naga labourers left the state during the COVID-19 pandemic, Phom said: "our Naga people working outside the state are getting lesser than what is being paid here but they dont want to work as labourers within the state".
The minister also said that another problem is the instability of the soil. Asked why the department had not undertaken a proper feasibility survey, Phom expressed ignorance saying it was approved before he took over the charge of the department.
Asked as to when construction will start for the second Medical College of the State in Mon district, which was sanctioned by the Central government on September 5, Phom said the state government is working on modalities and memorandum so that work can begin by this year-end.
"I have invited the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan to lay the foundation stone to begin the construction works by December 2020," he said.
On the criticisms from various corners, especially in social media platforms that the state government has initiated a second medical college without making the first medical college functional, the minister said the Central government has also expressed similar concern.
But, he said, the medical college in Mon district is very peculiar as it comes under ‘uncovered area’ among the 75 colleges sanctioned all over the country.
The projected cost of the second medical college in the state is estimated at Rs 323 crore, he said, adding that it is located in Chi village, within 8 km of Mon town.
Asked whether there is any land dispute, the minister replied in negative while asserting that the Konyak Union, the apex tribal body of the district and other tribal organisations are united and very supportive towards the completion of the project.
"It is a big advantage for the department and state government," said the minister.