Govt planning to shift PIMS to pvt hands: CM
Giving the clean chit to cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra on the beleaguered Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said on Wednesday that the state government was deliberating upon handing over its control to private hands. The CM was here on Wednesday to lay the foundation stone of a special school.punjab Updated: Dec 18, 2013 21:06 IST
Giving the clean chit to cabinet minister Surjit Singh Rakhra on the beleaguered Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), Punjab chief minister Parkash Singh Badal said on Wednesday that the state government was deliberating upon handing over its control to private hands. The CM was here on Wednesday to lay the foundation stone of a special school.
"There is some row in the PIMS management. Rakhra is not the only person involved in the matter. We are keeping a close vigil on the situation and would try to resolve the issue with mutual consent," the CM said, adding that, "It is certain that it (institute) would be passed on to private hands. I am not sure, but I have heard that talks are on with Fortis. In the coming days, we would take up the matter and try to sort it."
The institute is being managed by the PIMS Medical and Education Society comprising three stakeholders: the Rakhra family, Phagwara-based Dhesi family and a group of US-based south Indian doctors led by Dr Appa Rao Mukkamala. The state government, during its previous tenure (2007-12), had handed over the institute on a 99-year lease amid much criticism.
Doctors, staff nurses, paramedical staff and computer operators of PIMS are on strike over non-payment of salaries. Doctors and Class-4 employees have not been paid salaries since July and paramedical and non-teaching staff have been up in arms over salary increments given to some members of the staff in a "pick-and-choose" manner.
On Wednesday, PIMS doctors skipped work for the eighth consecutive day and OPD (out-patient department) services also remained closed. A protesting doctor said, "Only 12 indoor patients are there at present in the hospital and doctors are attending only to them. There is no fresh admission. The PIMS management has also put the career of more than 300 students at stake. How can they complete their studies due to lack of patients? To run a medical college, at least 70% bed occupancy should be there, but here it is only 3-4%."
Congress demands Centre's intervention
Punjab Congress spokesperson Sukhpal Khaira on Wednesday reached PIMS and showed solidarity with doctors during their agitation.
"It is highly unfortunate. To please a section of political leaders, this premier institute of Punjab has been put at stake. We were against the fishy deal at that time. Property worth more than Rs 2,000 crore was almost 'sold out' to a section of political leaders who had no experience in the medical field for a paltry amount of about Rs 140 crore. Now, the management is again creating the ground to transfer it through a deal. We will not allow it to happen," he said.
Khaira promised a meeting between union minister of state for heath and family welfare Santosh Chaudhary and the agitating doctors.
"On December 20, Chaudhary will be in the region and I will try that she and Punjab Pradesh Congress Committee chief Partap Singh Bajwa come here, meet the doctors and other agitating staff, and observe the PIMS's pitiable condition," he said, adding that, "We wish the Centre takes over this prestigious institute to provide big relief to poor people of Punjab who had pinned their hopes on it."
First Published: Dec 18, 2013 20:57 IST