The social media ecosystem of Tamil Nadu politics is in splits over the memes and jibes regarding BJP President JP Nadda’s recent remark, that ‘95% work for AIIMS Madurai was over.’
The claim drew attention of users after it was shared by the social media handle of BJP Tamil Nadu.
“Madurai AIIMS Hospital construction work is 95% complete. The number of seats for admission in AIIMS Medical College has also been increased from one hundred to two hundred and fifty. The Prime Minister will inaugurate AIIMS after completion of construction work..! – National President Mr. @JPNadda” read the translation of the tweet by @BJP4Tamilnadu.
It was later tweeted out by Sunil Deodhar, BJP Nat’l secy and Rajasthan state unit as well.
And in an embarrassment for the BJP, many soon pointed out that the site identified for the project was empty and construction work for AIIMS Madurai was yet to commence.
Madurai MP Su Venkatesan (CPIM) and Virudhunagar MP Manickam Tagore (Congress) went a step further, by visiting the spot in Thoppur and sharing pictures of barren land, with nothing but a boundary wall.
Later, the state BJP handle, after deleting the previous tweet on Nadda, shared a report from Sun News, wherein it was highlighted that 95% of the pre-investment work on the project was completed.
With increasing attention on the issue, Newschecker decided to fact check the BJP leader’s claims in his visit to the southern state.
Claim 1: ₹1,225 Cr Spent for AIIMS Madurai
Claimed by: JP Nadda at BJP event in Karaikudi
We set out to find the truth behind the claim that the BJP president made during his speech in Karaikudi, TN, on September 22, 2022.
We found the speech uploaded on the YouTube channel of the BJP. On listening closely to the speech, we can hear Nadda clearly say “Under the leadership of the dynamic leadership and his command, PM Modiji… we were able to give an All India Institute of Medical Sciences to Tamil Nadu at Madurai. I remember Pon Radhakrishnanji was the minister at that point of time. He always used to come to me and he used to talk to me, “We want AIIMS, we want AIIMS, we want AIIMS” and today I am happy to share with you that ₹1,225 crores have been spent for this 750 bedded AIIMS, which has 250 ICU beds and you will also be happy to note that ₹164 Crore additional fund has been given for Madurai AIIMS.”
We then looked for information on how much was allocated and spent on the project. On checking the website of the Ministry of Health and family welfare, we found that the initial allocation for the project was ₹1,264 Cr.
We then looked up more reports and found that the amount of money earmarked for the project was revised to around ₹2,000 crore.
A Newsclick report reads “The revised estimate for the hospital is pegged at ₹1,977.8 crore of which, JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) will offer ₹1,627.7 crore as loan. The remaining amount will be sanctioned through budgetary support.”
A Times Of India report from January 2022 said, “When the PM laid the foundation stone, the project estimate was ₹1,264 crore, which was revised to ₹2,000 crore in December 2020.”
In response to a query by Su Venkatesan, MoS Dr Bharati Parwar said in a letter that the expenditure was revised due to the inclusion of a 150 bed bloc for infectious diseases.
We also found a reply by MoH Mansukh Mandaviya to DMK MP Dayanidhi Maran during the winter session of 2021, where the details of the funds released for the AIIMS project was listed. However, it must be noted that the approved outlay mentioned in this response is ₹1,264 Cr, which as we mentioned above, was revised in 2020 to ₹1,977.8 crore.
The total funds released till December 10, 2021 was ₹12.32 Crore of which ₹11.99 Crore was spent on pre-investment work.
We further referred to the latest status of expenditure that was stated by Dr Bharti Pawar in a written response to the Parliament during the Monsoon Session that concluded in August 2022. While it lists the estimated timeline of completion as October 2026, it says that a total of ₹12.35 Cr has been released so far.
Thus we infer that BJP President JP Nadda’s claim that the government has spent ₹1,225 crores for the AIIMS Madurai is not correct. The government’s own latest available data contradicts JP Nadda’s statement. While ₹1,264 Cr was the initial allocated budget for the project, the figure was revised to ₹1,977.8 Crore in 2020. Of this amount, only ₹12.32 Crore has been released so far.
Claim 2: 95% Construction Work Completed In AIIMS Madurai
Claimed by: JP Nadda in Madurai
We first listened carefully to the speech that was live streamed on the YouTube channel of the BJP on September 22. Speaking at the event, JP Nadda is heard saying, “Pon Radhakrishnan ji used to tell me we need All India Institute of Medical Science, and I am happy to share with you ₹1,264 Cr were allotted to make this All India Institute of Medical Sciences. And there was a problem where to make it… we wanted to construct it in Madurai… we were successful in it because of your help… and today 95 percent of the work of the AIIMS has been completed… very soon it will be dedicated by the PM (to the people). But here I would also like to share with you that an additional amount of ₹134 Cr has been added in AIIMS and that has been added for, I am told, that it has been added for… for 150 bedded infectious diseases block is been added… ₹164 cr has been added.”
Newschecker then looked up the status of the AIIMS Madurai and found an article by The Print dated August 2022 titled “Campus site still a vacant plot 3 years on, AIIMS Madurai 1st batch gets trained at govt college”. The report revealed that the “escalating costs — blamed on pandemic-related delays — have pushed the construction deadline from an initial stipulated date within 45 months to October 2026.”
Further, the images shared by Su Venkatesan and Manickam Tagore also confirm that there is no such construction in the site. S. Sundar, a journalist working in Madurai, confirmed that the images shared by the two politicians were from the said location. A google map imagery of the same shows that the land is barren and has no construction on it.
We researched more and found another report in The Hindu from May 5, 2022 wherein the Madurai MP and CPIM State committee member Su Venkatesan claimed that in a written response to his query, the MoS Health Bharati Pravin Pawar stated that the institution would be functional by an estimated date of October 2026.
“The Minister said 92% of the pre-investment activity at the site, including construction of the boundary wall, had been completed,” the article further quoted the MoS’ response as stating.
The same information was also relayed by the MoS in a written response to Lok Sabha on July 22, 2022.
The written reply mentions clearly that 92% pre-investment work has been completed in AIIMS Madurai.
Hence, we understand that the BJP’s claim that 95% pre-investment work is completed is also not accurate.
BJP President JP Nadda’s claim that “95% construction work has been completed in AIIMS Madurai”, is not true. The construction work of AIIMS Madurai has not commenced yet, and the pre-investment work completed so far is 92%, not 95%.
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