An IIT for Kerala, but no AIIMS

Thiruvananthapuram : Kerala got an IIT but no AIIMS in the maiden budget of the Narendra Modi government.

The state got the long talked about IIT, while the recent announcement by Health Minister Harsh Vardhan that the state will get an AIIMS, if land is provided, failed to materialise.

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In the union budget presented in parliament Thursday by Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, there was no mention of AIIMS to be set up in Kerala.

Soon after Harsh Vardhan’s statement, there had been a mad rush by legislators and parliamentarians who tried to locate around 200 acres of land, preferably government land, in their constituency.

A number of them even identified land and contacted Chief Minister Oommen Chandy for it to be taken up for setting up the AIIMS.

Jaitley’s budget saw Rs.462 crore being announced for the work-in-progress Kochi Metro and he also has allocated for ailing central public sector FACT, besides the routine allotment to Coir, Coffee and Rubber boards that are located in the state.

And along expected lines, both the Congress and the Left opposition have said the union budget, like the railway budget, has been a disappointment for Kerala, while state BJP leaders have welcomed it wholeheartedly.

Tobacco Free Kerala – a coalition of like-minded organisations working for tobacco control in Kerala – welcomed the budget that has proposed hike in excise duty on tobacco products.

Paul Sebastian, vice chairman, Tobacco Free Kerala said this move is laudable.

“Tobacco is a grave killer and snatches away thousands of precious lives every year. This measure to make tobacco products costlier will definitely have an impact on its consumption and thereby save many productive lives,” said Sebastian.