The foundation stone of Shillong Medical College and Hospital, on a public-private-partnership model, was laid by chief minister Mukul Sangma on the premises of Reid Chest TB Hospital at Mawbah here on Wednesday, after a dilly-dally of five years.

KPC Group will begin the construction work after the TB hospital is shifted to new Shillong township at Mawdiangdiang, about 15km from here.

Admitting the delay, Mukul expressed concern over the problem in getting land for various projects.

"When I first got elected as an MLA in 1993 and talked about the need to have a medical college, some people laughed and told me that we would lose medical quota. Because of such thinking, our students still have to pursue medical studies from outside the state. If others have not done it in 45 years of statehood, we are doing it now," he said.

The chief minister added that the posts 110 specialist doctors across the state areyet to be filled up and lack of staff is affecting the healthcare services. Mukul said the question of having bonded and non-bonded doctors would not arise once more medical colleges are established.

In Meghalaya, bonded doctors are those who are pursuing medical studies on government quota outside the state, while non-bonded doctors pursue the studies on their own.

Mukul also expressed concern over the reported attempts to divide people on the basis of community and religion by "certain forces".

"These forces are aggressively working 24 hours to divide our people. If they love the nation and the state, how can they afford to divide the people? Meghalaya is a blessed state and devils should not be allowed to vitiate the environment," he added.

On demand for implementation of the inner-line permit (ILP), Mukul said, "Some people are talking about the issue again that we have discussed and resolved. We have already embarked upon all initiatives to deal with the ILP-related challenges." – Telegraph India 

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