The Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) is on the verge of closure, as the PIMS Medical and Education Charitable Society headed by state rural development and panchayats minister Surjit Singh Rakhra has apprised the state government of its inability to run the institute due to huge losses suffered over the past three years, it is learnt.
The PIMS was allotted to the Rakhra-led society on a 99-year lease during the previous SAD-BJP regime and it was mandated to charge patients as per Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh, rates for treatment.
The society suffered a loss of Rs 30 crore during the last financial year. It is facing a recurring monthly loss of Rs 3 crore this fiscal due to the failure to generate revenue from the hospital and the fee charged from MBBS students.
Nearly Rs 4 crore has not been paid for the past three months as salary to 1,200 staff members, including 650 permanent employees.
Electricity dues amounting to Rs 76 lakh are yet to be paid. The Punjab State Power Corporation Limited had earlier disconnected supply for failure of the society to clear its dues. The air-conditioning units and lifts are also being used minimally.
Appa Rao Mukkamala, a US-based doctor and society's director, told Hindustan Times: "We are stuck with the project owing to huge recurring losses during the past three years. We will not be able to pay more from our own pocket to run this institute's daily operations. Apart from paying the upfront consideration fee of Rs 136 crore to the state government, we have invested Rs 120 crore to make the institute functional so far. Last year's losses are, however, pegged at Rs 30 crore," he said.
Mukkamala said that the construction of students' hostels and employees' quarters was stopped six months ago for want of funds. "Even the banks stopped lending us money," he said.
"We have apprised the state government to support us else we will not be able to run the project," he said, adding that the state government should revise the fee structure for management and NRI quota seats in the light of the Supreme Court judgment. "There is need to enhance management quota seats from 35% to 40%, as is the case in Haryana," he said.
Mukkamala said though the PIMS was ready to provide the building for a drug de-addiction centre to the health department, the latter didn't consider the offer despite finding the facilities suitable during an inspection. Instead, the Rs 5-crore grant was sanctioned to the local civil hospital. "A new building is being built at the civil hospital, while the PIMS infrastructure could have been put to optimum use," he said.
Mukkamala said that the state government could sanction Rs 25 crore to set up a cancer detection and treatment centre on the PIMS premises, as was done in other parts of the state.