Decks have been cleared for a satellite centre of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research ( PGIMER), Chandigarh, at Ferozepur with the Punjab government’s approval for the transfer of 5.5 acres of land to Union health ministry for the purpose.
The satellite centre was approved two-and-a-half years, but there was no progress after that for want of land.
After the visit of a PGI team in May last year, a 5.5-acre piece of land at the ITI ground was identified and a proposal for transfer of the land was sent to the secretary, housing board, Punjab. The cabinet approved it on Thursday.
Confirming the development, state BJP chief Kamal Sharma expressed gratitude to chief minister Parkash Singh Badal and expressed optimism that the construction work on the project would commence soon.
Initially, Badal had given his nod to the proposal mooted by the financial commissioner (development) to allot 25-acre gram panchayat land at Wajidpur village to the local horticulture department in exchange of their land to be given for the PGI centre, but the proposal could not materialise.
The state authorities then transferred 16-acre land of the ITI ground to the health department, but, later, PGI authorities demanded more land for the construction of houses for doctors and other staff.
Health facilities in Ferozepur and the entire border belt are in bad shape and people have to travel to Ludhiana or Amritsar in case of medical emergencies.
In a study of the morbidity and mortality profile of Ferozepur district by the PGI, it was revealed that besides communicable and non-communicable diseases, gunshot injuries, mental health and substance abuse were also extensive in the vicinity.
Local Congress MLA Parminder Singh Pinki welcomed the move but rued that had government done the same early, the PGI centre could have been a reality by now. “Now its construction work should start on war-footing to complete it at the earliest in the wider interest of the common man,” said Pinki.