Terming the setting up of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) at Bathinda as 'another injustice" with the Doaba region, local MP Chaudhary Santokh Singh said he would strongly rake up the issue in Parliament in the current session and the party would not tolerate such a 'step-motherly' treatment to the people of Doaba.
When AIIMS was announced by the centre, it was almost sure that the institute would be set up in the Doaba region for which even the land was identified in Kapurthala district. Suddenly due to political aspirations of 'Badal bahu', chief minister Parkash Singh Badal bowed down and decided to shift AIIMS to her political battlefield of Bathinda, the MP said while terming it highly 'deplorable and unacceptable".
As the satellite centre of the PGI was already set up in Sangrur, an adjourning district of Bathinda, where was the need to set up AIIMS in the same area? Chaudhary quipped.
It is a long pending demand of the Doaba region for setting up the AIIMS in the Doaba region, as it is deprived of such medical facilities, Chaudhary said adding that although the then chief minister Beant Singh had given the project of the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) to the region, but that too, was ruined by the Badals.
PIMS, which was constructed at a cost of more than 100 crore, was doled out by Badals to their 'political friend' Surjit Singh Rakhra at throwaway price, he said adding that the result of this is in front of all, as PIMS is virtually on the verge of closure and even the Medical Council of India (MCI) has banned PIMS for admission of medical students due to poor facilities.
Conspicuously, the BJP, which claims itself as champions of protecting the rights of urbanites, is silent on the issue and virtually bowed down in front of the Akalis.
It is pertinent to mention here that Punjab chief secretary Sarvesh Kaushal here on Friday said, "The site for AIIMS in Bathinda was finalised two months ago."
While union food processing minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal favoured the institute in Bathinda, the state government had in March this year finalised a site near Ramidi village in Kapurthala district. Even the chief minister had been avoiding questions on the issue during his recent visits to the Doaba region.
"I had raised the issue in Parliament on May 11 during the zero hour that as the infrastructure of PIMS is ready for its conversion in AIIMS, in this was long pending demand of people could be met," Chaudhary revealed.