Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy on Sunday inaugurated a government medical college - the first to come up here in three decades - and announced that eight more were in the pipeline and would be ready in two years' time.
The last government medical college that was commissioned was at Trissur in 1982. With the inauguration of the 520-bed Manjeri Medical College, the number of such institutions in the state has gone up to six.
The opposition Left Democratic Front, who have declared war against Mr Chandy for not quitting in the wake of the solar scam, boycotted the programme and staged protest near the venue by waving black flags.
Mr Chandy criticised their stand.
"This is an historic occasion and when there is celebration here, a section is staying away. If they keep out of developmental progress in the state, soon they will be sidelined. The whole focus of our government is to provide state of the art health care to the entire society here and for that another eight more medical colleges will soon be ready," he said.
He said the foundation stone for four government medical colleges have been laid at Pathanamthitta, Idukki, Palakkad and Thiruvananthapuram and will be soon laid at Wayanad and Kasargode.
"We are mulling taking over the Kochi Cooperative Medical College and the Pariyaram Medical College which is right now under the cooperative sector," he said.