In a first, Narendra Modi government clears air on Maya Kodnani

Written by Express news service | Ahmedabad | Updated: Mar 4 2014, 16:38pm hrs
For the first time a minister and spokesperson in the Narendra Modi government made public its stand on convicted former minister Dr Maya Kodnani. State health and finance minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel who was laying the foundation stone of a multi-specialty hospital near the Civil hospital where Kodnani is lodged for a series of illnesses, said that the party sympathised with her.

Kodnani was minister of state for woman and child development in the Narendra Modi government earlier, and resigned after her name figured in the Naroda Patia riot case. She was later convicted by a special court for 28 years in the same case where 95 Muslims were killed in the post-Godhra riots, and became the first minister to be so convicted.

Kodnani, who has been recently denied bail by the Supreme Court, was brought to Civil Hospital Monday morning from jail just when the function was going on at a distance. Asked if he was going to visit Kodnani at the Civil Hospital, Patel avoided a direct reply and said, "Our sympathies with her in the party and she will be helped out in in all possible ways".

Asked if any of the ministers had gone to see her in the day in the hospital, he said, "all those who want to meet her or whom Mayaben agrees to meet, can go and meet her if the rules permit hem to do so". He refused to say if he had gone to meet her.

Kodnani had applied for bail in the Supreme court on the grounds that she had suffered facial burns because of an oil lamp caused by a fall. She has benign positional paroxysmal vertigo which leads to this tendency to fall. She is undergoing electric shock therapy under general anaesthesia since she suffers from major depressive disorder with suicidal tendencies.

Speaking in the function, Patel admitted that there existed an acute shortage of doctors in the Government-run hospitals in the State. He promised that the problem would be sorted out in near future. He said that Government was alive to healthcare needs of the people and therefore, it had organised "mega health check-up camp" camps where public response was overwhelming, so much so that at a mega Kalol town, nearly 8,000 patients had tuned up.A six storied, 308-bed cancer hospital will be built at a cost of Rs 384 crore besides, a 600-bed kidney hospital will be built at a cost of Rs 292 crore. Also, a 200-bed eye hospital for Rs 126 crore will also be build in this complex.

Patel said the Government was ready to facilitate opening of medical colleges in Gandhinagar, Himmatnangar, Vadnagar and Bharuch, besides, modern hospitals at Rajkot, Rajpipla, Bhavnagar, Jamnagar, Surat and Dahod among others.

In her address, State Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel said that in the future, the Government would encourage 'samras hostels' in the State where not just medical but students of other faculties like computer science, management and other faculties would be provided with furnished rooms.