The Himachal Pradesh state government is likely to take over the Vivekananda Medical Research Trust (VMRT), which is running a super-specialty hospital at Palampur. The VMRT is a dream project of BJP leader and Kangra MP Shanta Kumar, who is the chairman of the trust. Sources close to Shanta Kumar confirmed that he had given his consent through a letter to Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and Union Health Minister JP Nadda to hand over the institute to the state government so that full-fledged super-specialty departments would be started at the earliest. The institute is spread over 60 acres and valued over ₹100 crore. Besides, neurosurgery, there is no other super-specialty department in the hospital.
The hospital complex has been completed by the trust and only 25 percent of the building is being utilized while the remaining lying vacant as the trust has no resources to start other departments like cardio surgery, endocrinology, gastroenterology, etc. The proposal to set up super-specialty medical institution was mooted by Shanta Kumar in 1992 when he was the Chief Minister. The institute was proposed to provide quality healthcare to the lower region where there were no medical facilities. Unfortunately, the project has remained a victim of dirty politics for years as the governments did not bother for its early completion. Earlier, this project was a joint venture of the Himachal Pradesh Government and the Apollo Group of Hospitals. But with the change of the government, the Apollo group left this project half way.
In 2000, when Shanta joined the Union Cabinet, then he decided to revive the project and sought public cooperation. He received the overwhelming support from the public, who liberally contributed to this project and the trust received donations of ₹25 crore. Besides, setting up of a super-specialty hospital with 500 beds, the project also envisaged a medical college, nursing institution, paramedical school and yoga and naturopathy treatment facilities. The trust had made specific provisions in its bylaws to keep 20 percent beds reserved for poor patients. At present, the VMRT hospital is being run by the Jay Parkash Group of Industries. – The Tribune