After four decades, the state is likely to get a new government medical college, its fourth, in SAS Nagar. The last was opened in 1973.
The state government had sent a proposal to the union ministry of health and family welfare for upgrading the SAS Nagar district hospital to medical college. Sources in the department of medical research and education said the ministry had approved the proposal two weeks ago.
State's principal secretary for health Vini Mahajan refused to comment on the issue, saying that even after approval from the health ministry, the project was at a very initial stage and the file in the chief minister's office.
Of the state's 10 medical colleges, the government runs only three: the GMCs at Amritsar and Patiala and Guru Gobind Singh Medical College of Faridkot. In past one decade, private medical colleges have mushroomed in the state.
If the state government makes the proposed college an autonomous body, it will be built under a special Act. If it's a normal medical college, even the cabinet has powers to establish it.
Haryana raced ahead
"It is a development to welcome because it was long due," said Dr Pyara Lal Garg, state coordinator of Jan Swasthya Abhian and a former registrar of the Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS), Faridkot, adding: "When Haryana was carved out of Punjab, it had just one government medical college in Rohtak but then it added four since, while Punjab could add only one."
3 govt medical colleges in Punjab
4th likely to come up at SAS Nagar
Last opened in 1973
400 MBBS seats in the state's three government medical colleges (150 each at Patiala and Amritsar; 100 at Faridkot)
7 private medical colleges in state, most opened in previous one decade