Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Thursday wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi urging him to intervene to remove the colour branding conditionalities for health and wellness centres and release National Health Mission (NHM) funds to Bengal.
Withholding of funds by the Centre will deprive the poor of their health benefits, she said in her two-page letter to the prime minister.
“It is most unfortunate that very recently, I am informed that the Union ministry of health and family welfare has withheld fund release under the National Health Mission to West Bengal due to non-compliance with certain colour branding guidelines for health and wellness centres, despite other conditionalities being fulfilled. The withholding of fund release would adversely deprive the poor people of their benefit,” she wrote.
Ms Banerjee said currently there are around 11,000 functional health and wellness centres in the state which serve over three lakh people everyday. The buildings have been constructed since 2011 (when Trinamool came to power) in accordance with the colour branding in the state.
“I would earnestly request you to kindly intervene for the immediate release of NHM funds for West Bengal and for the removal of specific colour branding conditionalities for the health and wellness centres for the release of funds under the NHM so that poor people do not suffer from lack of quality health services,” Ms Banerjee added.
Central government’s terms and conditions have specified that the colour of the buildings of the health centres should be metallic yellow with a khaki border.
Government buildings in Bengal are mostly painted blue and white.
The Bengal Chief Minister also mentioned that her government “accords top priority to the welfare of its people with special emphasis on the poorer and marginalised section of its society”.
“In our endeavour, we are providing affordable, accessible and quality health care to all free of cost. There has been a significant increase in our budgetary allocation to health care in the last 12 years and many important public health initiatives such as the construction of super specialty hospitals, Swasthyasathi, Sishusathi, Matrima, Chokher Alo, etc., have been successfully launched in the last few years and a large number of people have benefitted,” she said.
She also mentioned that Bengal has been the front-runner in the implementation of different public health programmes under the NHM.
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