The announcement of setting up of an All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Punjab by Union finance minister Arun Jaitley in his budget speech on Saturday seem to have divided the Badal family.
Even as the Punjab government, after the then health minister Harsh Vardhan announced AIIMS for Punjab after formation of National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre in May last year, had announced to set up the premier institute in Kapurthala district, Bathinda MP and Union food processing industries minister and Bathinda MP Harsimrat Kaur Badal on Saturday advocated setting up of the institute in Bathinda.
Lauding the Union Budget, Harsimrat said the premier institute should come up at Bathinda as the state already has government medical colleges in Patiala, Amritsar and Faridkot, besides private medical colleges in Ludhiana and Jalandhar.
Harsimrat said: "With AIIMS in Bathinda, people of the Malwa region will not have to go to Bikaner in Rajasthan for treatment."
The Malwa region is also known as the cancer belt and people from the region visit Bikaner in the neighbouring Rajatshan for affordable treatment.
The first press release of Harsimrat Badal by the Punjab public relations department quotes her saying: "She advocates the new AIIMS allocated to Punjab should come up in Bathinda". In a revised release, she said: "AIIMS which could come up at Bathinda would be a boon for cancer patients in the Malwa belt."
The then Union health minister, Harsh Vardhan, had announced to set up AIIMS in Punjab after NDA government came to power at the Centre in May last year.
Following this, chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had announced that the Punjab government was planning to set up the institute somewhere in Jalandhar. However, due to non-availability of land in Jalandhar, nearby Kapurthala district was chosen for the project.
Kapurthala deputy commissioner (DC) DS Mangat said the district administration had proposed four sites at Alaadipur, Kheeranwali, Ramidi and Raipur-Peerbaksh-Chakoki villages to principal secretary, health, in June last year and he was coordinating with the Union government for the finalisation of the site.
"The panchayats and gram sabhas have already passed a resolution to give the land free of cost for setting up of the institute," said the DC.