Having a dig at Pakistan, union health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said that after waging a war against India by supplying guns, Pakistan was now trying to destabilise Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir through drugs.
Azad, who was in the city to launch the 'National free drug and iron plus initiative' scheme at the Government Medical College here, said, "Punjab and Jammu-Kashmir have faced almost similar issues. Punjab also faced terrorism in the past and now J&K was facing it too. Pakistan first used AK-47 to disturb peace in these two states and now it was using drugs to spoil these two states."
Talking on the health sector, the union minister did appreciate Punjab for controlling the infant mortality rate but did slam Punjab for the skewed sex ratio.
"Skewed sex ratio is one big problem that Punjab and other states such as Haryana, Delhi as well as J&K were facing. This is a major concern and things need to be set right. Against 1000 males, nothing less than 900 females is tolerable. Punjab is at 824, which is very unfortunate," said Azad.
"I cannot understand which way these states are going. Women are no less than anyone. We can see in this world that women have succeeded on all fronts. These states must make efforts to address this serious issue," he added.
While promising a cancer institute for Punjab, the union minister said that the Centre had already spent Rs 125 crore for establishing a 'super-specialty hospital' at Amritsar medical college, adding that a similar hospital would also be set up at Medical College, Patiala.
Azad, who was accompanied by union minister of state for health Santosh Chaudhary and Punjab CM Parkash Singh Badal, also inaugurated the outlet for free medicine service at Sri Guru Nanak Dev Hospital, Medical College Amritsar. He also paid obeisance at Harmandar Sahib.
CM bats for free health security
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal called for the introduction of comprehensive 'free health security' for the common man, especially the poor, in the country, on the lines of food security.
Speaking during the function, the chief minister called upon the Centre to bring legislation to this effect in the Parliament and promised his party's full support to the measure. He said that it was unfortunate that even after more than 65 years of independence, the poor sections were still being deprived of the quality medical health facilities. Badal said that need of the hour was to ensure that quality health services were ensured within the reach of the common man for which this noble initiative was required from the government of India.
Choudhary underlines need to check misuse of funds
Stressing that union government was giving a lot of focus to health sector, minister of state for health Santosh Choudhary said, "Centre is giving a lot of attention to the health sector. And there is no dearth of money for Punjab too. My only request to the CM saab is that he should ensure that money should reach the beneficiaries it is meant for."
She said that condition of government health institutions in Punjab was deplorable and patients were not willing to go to a government hospital for obvious reasons.