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Goa minister slams Congress MLA over shut down ‘threat’

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Panaji, March 27 (IANS) Goa Health Minister Vishwajit Rane on Tuesday slammed Maharashtra Congress MLA Nitesh Rane, who has threatened to shut down the coastal state for a day demanding a rollback of the decision of the Manohar Parrikar-led government to charge outstation patients treated at public hospitals.

"Nitesh Rane said that he will close Goa for a day. Is it his hotel in Calangute? Just because he has bought the property, does it mean he has bought all of Goa? It doesn’t work like that. That is not the way to say things," Vishwajit Rane told reporters here.

Nitesh Rane, whose family runs a starred hotel in the beach village of Calangute, is an MLA from the Kankavli constituency in Maharashtra. He has warned of an agitation if the Goa government does not roll back its decision to charge a fee from outstation patients due to overcrowding of the state’s health facilities.

"I am the health minister of Goa. I have to look after the interest of the Goan population. Nitesh Rane can say what he wants. It is not his domain to advise me or the government of Goa. There is a BJP government in the state of Goa and in Maharashtra. I am confident that both governments will be able to resolve the issue.

"At no point of time, we have said that poor people will not be treated. The issue is being politicised on the border (Maharashtra-Goa). I have asked for an appointment with Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis to sort out the issue," Vishwajit Rane said, adding that he would be meeting Fadnavis on Wednesday.

"We are open to an MoU with the government of Maharashtra, so that the interest of our people can be protected and the load on the hospitals can be decreased," Rane said, adding that nearly 35 per cent of the patients at the state government-run hospitals were from outside Goa.

The Goa government started charging nominal fees for health services in state government-run hospitals from January.

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