Punjab wants to shift proposed medical college to border area

Chandigarh, Feb 13 (IANS) Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday asked state Health Minister Brahm Mohindra to explore with the Central government the possibility of shifting the proposed medical college in Mohali to a border area, possibly Sangrur.

He also suggested that all future heath projects be planned in areas that lack medical facilities.

The Chief Minister said he will also meet Union Health Minister J.P. Nadda to discuss the change of the medical college site, besides writing to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite the AIIMS Bathinda project, for which the state government has completed all the necessary formalities.

The Rs 800 crore AIIMS Bathinda project is 100 per cent Centrally sponsored, while the Rs 300 crore Medical College project is on a Centre-state sharing pattern in a 70:30 ratio.

The directives from Amarinder Singh came at a meeting here to review the status of the two projects, aimed at raising the health infrastructure bar in the state.

The Chief Minister was informed that Mohali was selected for the medical college under a scheme floated in 2012, for which a pre-condition required was that the city should have a 200-bed hospital which the Centre could help upgrade.

At the time, Mohali had one civil hospital with 200 beds and no private hospital or medical college, and thus met the terms and conditions of the scheme.

Since then, however, other more needy areas had also emerged to meet the conditions and could be selected for uplift of the medical facilities, the meeting discussed.

Noting that concentrating all facilities in Mohali would lead to lopsided development, since neighbouring Chandigarh already has medical colleges, the Chief Minister suggested setting up the medical college in the under-developed border areas.

Finance Minister Manpreet Badal agreed that Sangrur would be an ideal place for the proposed college.

Amarinder Singh asked Mohindra to take up the matter with Nadda and check if Sangrur could be selected, and to proceed accordingly based on the decision of the Central government.

On the issue of AIIMS Bathinda, the Chief Minister was told that the state government had already resolved all pending issues, including shifting of water channel and exchange of land, for the hospital-cum-medical college, for which the foundation stone was laid by Modi in 2016.

Punjab had provided land and had to create the necessary road infrastructure, with the rest to be handled by the Central government.

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