Patna, Feb 14 (PTI) The Centre has given its nod for setting up 25 medical colleges across the country, out of which five are proposed in Bihar, Union Minister of State for Health Ashwini Kumar Choubey said today.

Talking to reporters here, Choubey said the budget presented by Finance Minister Arun Jaitley earlier this month contained a proposal for setting up 25 medical colleges and a sum of Rs 250 crore will be provided by the Centre for establishing each such institution.

Choubey, who also represents Buxar in the Lok Sabha, said Bihar has been divided into five zones – each comprising three parliamentary constituencies – where one medical college each will be set up.

The zones are Buxar-Ara-Pataliputra, Jamui-Munger-Banka, Sheohar-Sitamarhi-Madhubani, Vaishali-Gopalganj-Siwan and Samastipur-Supaul-Araria, the minister said adding that the state has been asked to acquire land for setting up of medical colleges at the earliest.

He also said that the state government has been asked to make land available “within a month” for a proposed cancer research centre at Muzaffarpur, modelled after Tata Memorial Cancer Institute, the foundation stone for which will is likely to be laid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The 125-bed cancer research centre will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 200 crore with the help of Bhabha Atomic Research Institute, Choubey added.

He also said that a move was afoot to set up diagnostic centres in all 38 districts of the state where cancer could be detected in the earlier stages.

The Minister claimed that the AIIMS at Patna was making fast progress and it now had 30 functional departments and 91 faculty members.

Besides, the hospital will have eight state of the art operation theatres by the end of this month and emergency services will be offered from May onwards, Choubey added.

The MoS for Health also said that allocation has been made in the budget for meeting the shortfall of doctors in PHCs and CHCs.

He said Bihar had 4400 practicing doctors at present and the state needed at least 1200 more of them.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.