Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Capt Amarinder Singh on Tuesday warned the Punjab government against taking away the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU) land in Bathinda for setting up All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).
The former chief minister said while he fully supported the setting up of the AIIMS in Bathinda, he wanted the government to make alternative land arrangements.
He said, "You can't take away the land meant for agricultural research. The government can arrange alternative land in the same area instead of taking the easy way out."
"It is a classic example of robbing Peter to pay Paul. We will not let anyone rob the PAU of its precious land," he said, adding, "If the state wants the AIIMS to be set up in Bathinda, it must also arrange for the land."
Reacting to the state government's proposal to take away 175 acres of land from the PAU regional research centre at Bathinda for the AIIMS, the former chief minister wondered how could someone in his right senses take away the research land from an institute like the PAU.
"The PAU had set up various regional research centres according to the climatic zones meant for conducting research in cotton and citrus fruits," Amarinder said.
He observed that over the years the importance of regional research centres had increased, but the Akalis, especially the Badals, were bent on closing them down. The former chief minister said given the challenges being faced in traditional farming research had become all the more important.