Union minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal today alleged that the Punjab government was deliberately delaying the commissioning of Rs 925 crore AIIMS Bathinda project due to “petty politics”.
Alleging that the Congress government in the state had refused to give statutory approvals and make the site encumbrance free, Badal said Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh got jittery when the Union health ministry announced that it would start construction on the site in June this year and start OPD for diagnostics in February, 2019.
“It seems start of medical facilities for the people of the region was not to the liking of the Congress government which felt the SAD-BJP alliance would get political credit for the same,” said the Union food processing minister in a statement.
“It is a shame that the people of the Malwa region are being denied advanced medical care, including much needed cancer treatment, because of such despicable anti-people thinking of the Congress party,” she added.
Harsimrat, who is the Bathinda MP, further said that there could be no other reason for the “deliberate go-slow tactic of the Congress government” despite the fact that she had repeatedly written letters detailing approvals and civil works needed to start construction on the 177 acre AIIMS project site.
“Union health minister J P Nadda has again written a letter to chief minister Capt Amarinder Singh yesterday asking him to personally intervene to make the AIIMS project a reality,” she said.
In the letter, Nadda had disclosed how HITES, the executing agency which had been awarded the Bathinda AIIMS project, had completed all documentation and submitted the same to Punjab authorities for obtaining statutory approvals from State bodies like State’s Environment Impact Assessment Authority, she said.
She said Nadda had pointed out that despite follow ups by senior ministry officials, the state government had not given the necessary approvals.
“Mr Nadda also pointed out that the site was not being made encumbrance free by shifting high tension wires as well as the canal water course running through it,” she said.
She claimed that the Congress government did not want OPD facility to start at AIIMS, Bathinda by February 2019.
She also said that the state government’s lacklustre approach would delay the start of the medical session from July 2019 as scheduled as well as the completion of the entire facility by 2020.
The union minister said she had tried her best to take up the issue with the chief minister and also with the Bathinda district administraton.
“Mr Nadda has also asked the chief minister to intervene and create conducive conditions for start of work on the prestigious project. In case the government does not act in the matter even now I will be forced to go to the people and take their help to force the government to act in their interest,” she added.