AIZAWL, April 28 - Expressing strong resentment against the renaming of the Mizoram Institute of Medical & Educational Research (MIMER) as Zoram Medical College, the opposition Congress demanded that the original name of the institute be restored by the ruling Mizo National Front (MNF) government at the earliest.
Addressing a press conference here on Saturday, State Congress media chairman Lallianchhunga said the MNF government would do more harm than good by renaming MIMER.
�The MNF government not only renamed MIMER but also downgraded it from a research institute to a mere college, which proves that it does not give any thought for the future development of the institute,� said Lallianchhunga.
He said when the Congress government established the state�s first medical institute from �ruins�, it was appropriately named as the Mizoram Institute of Medical Education & Research (MIMER) with a long-term vision to develop it as one of the best medical research institutes of the region.
�By making it a mere college, the MNF government will spoil the long-term goal set by its predecessors,� added Lallianchhunga.
Lallianchhunga said the medical college, formerly the State Referral Hospital, was the brainchild of former chief minister Lal Thanhawla. During his stint as chief minister in 1996, he submitted a proposal to the then prime minister HD Deve Gowda who visited the state. Gowda sanctioned Rs 40.53 crore through the Planning Commission for a 300-bed State Referral Hospital, which was to be upgraded to a 500-bed hospital in due course.
�When MNF came to power in 1998, instead of constructing the main building, it constructed staff quarter. As the Central government was not satisfied with how the MNF government spent Rs 35.39 crore, it refused to release the remaining instalment amounting to Rs 5.5 crore. The poor quality staff quarters constructed by the MNF government were later used to house chickens and Indian Reserve Police personnel. The hospital project was totally abandoned,� he said.
When the Congress government came back to power in 2008, it revived the project with renewed efforts and established the medical institute, he said.
Lallianchhunga further informed that MIMER is yet to get recognition from the Medical Council of India. The Ministry of Health & Family Welfare has granted a letter of permission in the name of MIMER. The medical institute needs a lot of tests to go through to get full recognition.
As all files and documents, including the recent Mizoram legislative act, have been recorded in the name of MIMER, rechristening would also have other implications, he said, adding that the deletion of �research institute� from the name could also destroy the morale of the staff and students of the institute.
MIMER is in its initial stage and requires a lot of concerted efforts to develop it as a reputed medical institution, said Lallianchhunga.
Saying that the people of Mizoram would not allow the medical research institute to be downgraded to a mere medical college, the Congress party said it is fully against the renaming of the institute.
Lallianchhunga further alleged that even though the MNF government initially planned to name it as Mizoram Medical College, one of its ministers suggested the name Zoram Medical College, as �Zoram� is the nickname of present Chief Minister Zoramthanga.