The Chhattisgarh Congress government yesterday passed the Chandulal Chandrakar Memorial Medical College (Acquisition) Bill, 2021 amidst strong opposition from the BJP. The college is linked to the family of Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel’s son-in-law. The state government will have to shell Rs 140 crore per year for running the college, The Indian Express reported. The CCMH has a total outstanding debt of Rs 125 crore. According to reports, the college owners had mortgaged the institution for Rs 172 crores in order to set up an institute in Kachandur village.
When the controversial bill was tabled in the assembly, the Opposition demanded a division of votes. As many as 56 MLAs voted in favour of the Bill, 16 against it and 18 did not vote. The Chhattisgarh Assembly has 70 Congress MLAs, 15 from the BJP, and five from other parties.
State Health Minister T S Singh Deo piloted the Bill that proposes to pay the owners of the college twice its valuation sum. The bill says that a special officer would be appointed by the government to undertake the valuation of the properties of the college.
The opposition BJP proposed some amendments which were rejected by a voice vote. BJP MLA Brijmohan Agarwal moved three amendments – absorption of the existing employees, clarification over who would pay the loans taken against the college, and that the exclusionary powers of the special officer be revoked so that his valuation decision could be challenged.
The bill says that employees of the college would be released after the acquisition. The bill also noted that owners will have to repay the liabilities of the institute before the takeover by the government.
TS Singh Deo said that the government cannot absorb private employees of the colleges and once the acquisition is complete, the process of hiring employees will start.
BJP MLA from Akaltara Saurabh Singh, opposing the bill, said that the Assembly should be made aware of the details filed by the company with the Registrar of Companies before passing the Bill. “Without information on whether the company has clean books or not, how can we vote on the Bill?” he said.
The college was named after Chandulal Chandrakar, former Congress leader. Mangal Prasad Chandrakar is the Director of CCMH and is one of the 59 shareholders. CM Baghel’s daughter Divya is married to Kshitij Chandrakar. Kshitij’s father Vijay Chandrakar is the younger brother of Mangal Prasad Chandrakar.