Chandigarh, July 9: Union Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today accused the Punjab congress party trying to get the prestigious AIIMS project slated to come up in Bathinda cancelled by putting it into litigation.
Condemning the nefarious attempts of the Punjab Congress to deny access to cover treatment to the people of the Malwa region, Badal said such a policy could deny the very establishment of an AIIMS Hospital in Punjab.“ If the Punjab Congress continues with its anti Punjab activities the project could be shifted to some other state”, she added.
The Union Minister also asked the Punjab Congress leaders of Malwa region to disclose their stand on the issue. “Why are you keeping studied silence”, she said adding the congress leaders should openly disclose whether they were in favour of the project or not.
Harsimrat Badal said, she had proposed the AIIMS project for Bathinda on the basis of merit alone. She said while there was no major medical institution in the Malwa belt and particularly Bathinda-Mansa area there was a surfeit of such hospitals in Doaba belt.
She said the Bathinda and Mansa belt was also severely affected by Cancer Hepatitis-B and type-2 diabetes. She said there were 12 percent cases of fatal diseases in rural and 16 percent in urban areas in this region as compare to national average of 8 and 12 percent respectively. Mrs. Badal said it was a fact that there was an average of 200 to 300 cases with symptoms of Cancer and Hepatitis B in certain villages of Mansa and Bathinda districts. She said Gehri village in Bathinda district had lost 13 families to cancer.
Describing Malwa as worst hit belt, the Union Minister said according to a study conducted in 2013 Malwa had emerged as cancer capital of the state with the highest average of 136 cancer patients per one lakh people. She informed that as per the data of last five years there were an average 18 deaths due to cancer each day while there were 23,874 cancer patients in the state and 33,318 lives had been lost in cancer-related deaths during last five years. Mrs. Badal said according to the study there were nearly 24,000 people confirmed cancer cases in the state and 84,453 people having symptoms of cancer.
The Union Minister said there should have no objection to Congress on establishment of AIIMS in Malwa and the congressmen should avoid politicising the matter. She said that Malwa people were forced to visit far-off places and other states to get their diseases treated so the Congress should deeply feel the sufferings of people in larger public interest.