The Union health ministry has approved a site at the ITI ground to set up a 100- bed satellite centre of the Post-Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, here.
A few weeks ago, a 12-member team from the PGI was here to inspect the proposed site besides other required infrastructure. Led by Dr JS Thakur, the team, accompanied by DPS Kharbanda, deputy commissioner, Ferozepur, visited the proposed site, adjacent to the civil hospital besides two others.
When asked, Kharbanda said that the site at the ITI ground had been given nod and all the formalities would completed. In July 2013, a high-level meeting, headed by the director of PGI and joint secretary, union ministry of health, approved a 100-bed hospital but for the want of land, the project had been in limbo since then.
Initially, Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal gave his nod to the proposal mooted by the financial commissioner (development) to allot 25 out of 50 acres of gram panchayat land at Wajidpur village to the local horticulture department in exchange of their land to be given for PGI, but the proposal could not materialise. State authorities then moved a proposal to give a piece of land at the local ITI ground while a part of land in the proposal had been transferred in the name of the health department.
Health facilities in Ferozepur and the entire border belt are in a bad shape and in the absence of adequate medical facilities, residents have no option but to travel to Ludhiana or Amritsar in case of medical emergencies.
Excessive use of pesticides had wreaked havoc in the area, affecting the health of people on a large scale. The problem was all the more acute for the people who could not afford quality treatment and the cancer patients of Ferozepur, Faridkot, Moga, Bathinda and Mansa had to visit Bikaner for treatment.
Punjab BJP chief Kamal Sharma welcomed central government's selection of land for the satellite centre in Ferozepur. "I have personally met union health minister JP Nadda and invited him to lay the foundation stone of the centre," said Sharma.
Sharma said that it was a long-pending demand of the people of border areas of Punjab and a delegation of local leaders had met previous union health minister Dr Harshwardhan a few months back and asked him to fulfill this demand.
In his meeting with Nadda, the state BJP chief also appealed the Union Health Minister to immediately sanction funds for the start of the work.
Sharma said that the PGI centre would have all modern health facilities and it would come as a big relief for the people of Ferozepur and other border areas who, till now, were deprived of best health facilities in the region.
Welcoming the visit of the PGI team, local Congress MLA Parminder Singh Pinki said PGI's satellite centre was a " Health Bonanza" for the natives of not only Ferozepur but would not only benefit the border residents but also cater to the medical needs of people of Malwa, Majha and Doaba, besides boosting the economy in the vicinity.