Punjab govt creates yet another hurdle in the opening of AIIMS Bathinda: Harsimrat

Chandigarh September 20: Since his government came to power in 2017, Punjab chief minister Captain Amarinder Singh is putting one obstacle after another in the stage wise execution of the prestigious AIIMS Bathinda project. This time the state government is deliberately delaying the power supply to the premier medical institute as is evident from the Union health ministry’s latest communiqué to the state chief secretary, to be precise.

In a hard hitting statement castigating the state government for its repeated attempts to stall the project and now to delay it inordinately, Union Minister for Food Processing Industries Harsimrat Kaur Badal lambasted the state government for blocking the inauguration of such a prestigious health institution. She urged the Chief Minister to work in the larger interest of the state and its people and be proactive in delivering on state government’s duties towards the timely implementation of the project of national interest.

It may be recalled that the classes for the first batch of MBBS have already started at the transit campus of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences, Faridkot and the management is keen to start the OPD (Outdoor Patient Department) services immediately, latest by the end of this month, but due to the lack of power connection, the starting of OPD is being delayed inordinately.

It is pertinent to mention that the Union health ministry was so annoyed at the lethargic attitude of the state government that the Secretary Health (GoI) has now written to the chief secretary Punjab for his immediate intervention as in the absence of power supply, the opening of facility is getting delayed.

As per MoU signed between the state government and Union health ministry for establishment of the AIIMS in Punjab, the state government had to provide electricity connection of the required load at its own cost and therefore the Operation & Maintenance of 66/11 KV substation has to be borne by either Punjab government or the PSPCL as the utility would be charging for the power supply.

Notably, the state government was supposed to provide the power supply to the AIIMS Bathinda last year itself, but it failed to do so. Even in the last review meeting the state authorities were asked to ensure the power supply to the institution latest by September 15, categorically mentioning that the building was ready for the inauguration but it fell on deaf ears.

The union health secretary has made a special request to the Punjab chief secretary for the early resolution so that adequate required power load could be supplied for successful commissioning of the OPD services which would benefit the entire region.

AIIMS Bathinda is a dream project of Ms. Badal, who had pursued it vigorously from the day of its conception in Punjab and ensured it getting established in Malwa region suffering from endemic Cancer and other serious ailments. Upset over the dilatory tactics of the Punjab government, the Union Food Processing Industries minister, who represents Bathinda Lok Sabha constituency, said she was shocked at the apathy of the state government towards the prestigious project  because  she  had worked tirelessly to ensure that AIIMS Bathinda be one of the first AIIMS to be completed in India well within the time and was proud that her government had done so.

The Government of Punjab that had only to provide a 66 KVA power substation has been unable to ensure that doing in the entire time in which a 100 acre premier institution got constructed and is now ready for inauguration but it is held up due to no power supply, she rued.

This is exactly what she had feared that the AIIMS would be ready but the state government would not supply power to run it and it now seems to be the case. Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal should not test the patience of the people who were first denied Rs 5 lakh benefit of the GoI’s health scheme Ayushman Bharat for whole year and are now being top class health care.

The number of lives that could be saved in this period but couldn’t be done in the absence of the facility, should be treated as the state government’s criminal negligence, she said.

Read more