After facing difficulty locating 200 acres of land which is easy to be acquired and better connected with road and rail network in Jalandhar district for setting up All Indian Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), the state government has now decided to set it up in the neighbouring Kapurthala district.
Union health minister Dr Harsh Vardhan had promised an AIIMS for Punjab recently.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal after meeting the union health minister had announced on June 21 that the Punjab government was planning to set up AIIMS somewhere in Jalandhar.
It has been learnt that said the decision was taken keeping in view Jalandhar's connectivity with all parts of the state. But due to non-availability of panchayat land in the district, the government was compelled to look for land in nearby Kapurthala.
"At present, we do not have any big chunk of panchayat land in Jalandhar for the project. Moreover, the state government was looking for free panchayat land. It was in no mood to acquire the land from farmers for the project since land acquisition process gets stuck in legal tangles due to objections by owners on one or other issues," said Kamal Kishore Yadav, Jalandhar deputy commissioner.
Sources close to chief minister's office said the government wanted this project to be implemented quickly and hence nearby Kapurthala was chosen for the project without wasting any time.
Four proposed sites sent by Kapurthala district administration for AIIMS are at Alaadipur, Kheeranwali, Ramidi and Raipur Peerkhana villages. All these villages are learnt to have more than 200 acres of panchayat land.
The land at Ramidi village in the Bholath assembly segment is said to be the most suitable for the purpose since it is situated on the the National Highway-1 between Jalandhar and Amritsar. It is a point where people from Malwa region too will also have an easy access.
Bholath assembly segment is represented by senior SAD leader Bibi Jagir Kaur.
However, any decision over finalising the land for the site would be taken by the union minister for health who is expected to visit the proposed sites soon.
The chief minister on June 5 had written a letter to the union health minister to start finalising on the land site. Initially, the state government had proposed to set up the AIIMS at the Punjab Institute of Medicinal Sciences (PIMS) but the union ministry for health turned it down.
SAD Rajya Sabha MP Naresh Gujral, who has many times advocated the need to convert PIMS into AIIMS, said due to certain set rule to set-up institutes like AIIMS, the union government has asked for the fresh land.
"Probably, they need at least 200 acres for the project and that is a criterion for setting up of an AIIMS. Taking over PIMS is not a viable option as expressed by the union ministry of health," said Gujral.