Controversy shrouds the opening of the much-awaited cancer research institute announced by the previous BJP government in Hamirpur district, with the ruling Congress shifting its location to Mandi district.
It was in 2011, when the previous Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government led by Prem Kumar Dhumal made an announcement at a function at Tauni Devi that a cancer research institute would be opened at Tauni Devi.
Accordingly, the research work for the proposed institute started and a number of reports concerning the work undertaken in this regard in Hamirpur district were sent to New Delhi. A site for the proposed project was also located at Darkoti village near Tauni Devi during the BJP regime. However, no formal inauguration of the institute was held.
However, with the change of guard in the state in 2013, reports were in rife that the Congress-led state government was opening a cancer research institute in the state without naming the place.
However, the situation became tricky on Friday when health minister Kaul Singh Thakur told reporters at the zonal hospital here that the proposed cancer research institute would be opened in any part of Mandi district.
When reporters reminded him of the announcement made by the Dhumal government, Thakur shot back: "Where are the papers?" "No such proposal was sanctioned for Tauni Devi. It was for the first time that the Congress government had brought this vital project to the state, which would be instituted at Mandi," he said emphatically.
However, when contacted, Dhumal lambasted Thakur for "speaking lie" on the issue, stating that it was a Congress' "design", which used shift offices and institutions from Hamirpur, and thus, the move was no exception, too.
Dhumal claimed that the institute was proposed at Tauni Devi and it was in the final stage of getting clearance. "However, in the meantime, the assembly elections were held and the BJP lost power to the Congress, which wanted to deprive the people of Hamirpur of this prestigious institution," he added.
The aim behind opening of the institute at Touni Devi was presence of hazardous Uranium in various parts of Hamirpur district and Tauni Devi that has adverse effect on people's health.
Though the cancer research institute is still a hang fire, it has opened a fresh ground for tussle between the ruling Congress and the opposition BJP.