Congress today accused Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal for ignoring "cancer epidemic" in Malwa region of the state and said people were dying of the disease due to poor health infrastructure.
Addressing a meeting of party workers here, Punjab Congress president Partap Singh Bajwa said Badal had little interest in the welfare of people living in Gidderbaha and other areas "due to narrow political mindset."
The PPCC president said according to a recent Punjab health department study, there are 23,874 cancer patients in the state and 33,318 people have lost their lives to the deadly disease in the past five years.
"The death rate due to cancer was 90 per lakh population against national average of 80. The cancer death rate was 51 per lakh per year in Talwandi Sabo of Bathinda as compared to 30 in Chamkaur Sahib, outside Malwa," he said, according to a party release.
RO systems installed in Malwa by a Centre-sponsored NGO 'Nandi', have became redundant because its filters were not replaced for the last three years, he alleged and said, there was no speciality hospital for cancer patients in Malwa, except for a private hospital in Bathinda which was set up on land given on subsidy by the state government, but treatment to patients is not subsidised.
The Gurdaspur MP said cancer patients were forced to go to Bikaner in Rajasthan.
"Unfortunately, the passenger train running between Bathinda and Bikaner is now known as Cancer Express," he rued.
UPA government has sanctioned a cancer hospital in Sangrur for Malwa region which will be constructed at the cost of Rs. 500 crore, Bajwa said.