Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for an Employees’ State Insurance Corporation’s (ESIC) multi-specialty hospital on Pooluvapatti Ring Road here on February 10. The much-awaited project stalled for six years due to legal hurdles associated with land purchase. The Center decided to go ahead with the foundation stone laying ceremony though the legal issue has not been solved. The PM’s function, which was scheduled at Perumanallur here, will be a government-cum-election campaign. First, he will lay the foundation stone along with chief minister Edappadi K Palaniswami before switching over to another stage, which will be set for election campaign. “The 100-bed multi-specialty hospital will be established on the land purchased for the purpose on Pooluvapatti Ring Road, if everything goes well,” deputy director of ESIC K Raghuraman told TOI. As per ESIC records, about 8600 industrial units across various clusters have registered with the corporation to provide health insurance to employees. With over 300,000 insured employees, about 800,000 people including their family members will benefit by the hospital.
The project was facing hindrance as a temple priest and some other people questioned about the purchase of the 7.46 acres of land by ESIC from HR & CE department for building the hospital. A trial court dismissed the claim of the priest. But he appealed against it and the case is pending for the last six years. The legal issue pertained only with HR & CE, not ESIC, which is not even party in the pending case. Meanwhile, knitwear units and employees’ unions wanted to know why similar efforts for setting up the hospital were not taken earlier. Due to absence of the hospital, 800,000 people were depending on the two ESIC dispensaries functioning in the city. For any advanced medical intervention, they had to travel at least 50 km to reach the ESIC Medical College Hospital in Coimbatore. “We wholeheartedly welcome the move to build the hospital. But we suspect that the Union government could conduct the foundation stone laying ceremony for electoral benefits. If not so, why ESIC or the government did not take steps to establish the hospital despite continuous representations and protests?” said G Sampath, Tirupur district general secretary of CITU. – TOI