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New Delhi, July 14 (IANS) The Shipping Ministry is planning to modernise and upgrade its hospitals at major ports into medical colleges and tertiary-care hospitals, Union Shipping Minister Nitin Gadkari announced on Friday.

The government had earlier formed a committee to suggest the development model for the port hospitals on Public Private Partnership (PPP) mode, and the panel, headed by Medical Council of India member Ved Prakash Mishra, presented its findings at a meeting with Gadkari on Friday.

The committee, tasked to leverage the ports’ healthcare infrastructure optimally to provide world class healthcare facilities and education at affordable rates, visited hospitals in five major ports including Mumbai, Cochin, Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam, the Minister said.

Gadkari said that as per the recommendations of the committee, the government would invite private players to modernise and run the hospitals at the ports.

“It is not the job of the port authorities to run hospitals. We will give our assets on lease to those organisations which have been successful in the healthcare sector and they will run the hospitals,” he said, adding the port hospitals would be upgraded into world-class facilities and would provide both medical education and healthcare services at affordable costs.

“The local people would get the best medical facilities and won’t have to go to the cities,” he said adding that the government would bring a transparent policy.

As per the recommendations of the committee, the Shipping Ministry could transfer the port hospital with over 200 beds at Mumbai to a society, trust or a company for starting a medical college.

It said that healthcare facilities with lesser number of beds at Mumbai, Cochin,Chennai, Kolkata and Vishakhapatnam needed to be upgraded into tertiary-care facilities through PPP mode.