Jammu: Members of a coordination committee for setting up AIIMS in Jammu resumed their agitation on Tuesday, even as Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh sought to allay apprehensions over the matter, saying both BJP and the Centre were "committed" on granting the institute to the region.
The committee had started a chain hunger strike on June 11, but on the written assurance of the Deputy Chief Minister Singh and state Forest Minister Bali Bhagat last month that AIIMS would be announced by July 20, it had deferred the protests.
AIIMS coordination committee (ACC), an amalgam of more than 70 religious, social, political, business and civil society groups is spearheading the agitation in support of setting up an AIIMS in Jammu region.
Congress and Jammu and Kashmir National Panthers Party held anti-BJP protests and demanded resignation of Singh and Bhagat for their alleged failure to announce AIIMS for Jammu as per their written deadline of July 20.
"BJP is committed to its promise of grant of AIIMS to Jammu. It has been decided at the highest level. We are not going back on the written assurance given to the coordination committee. We are committed and reiterate that AIIMS will be granted to Jammu but it is only a matter of time as it is a policy decision", Singh told reporters here today.
"We appeal to the coordination committee to wait for some more days and suspend their programme of agitation for few days because AIIMS is a big issue and can take some more time to decide", he added.
Deputy Chief Minister said "I want to appeal through media to the people of Jammu that AIIMS issue is the major issue of the BJP as well. It is the issue of the BJP as well as the government. We are committed to the setting up of AIIMS in Jammu".
He said that the people of Jammu may have fears that the AIIMS announced for Kashmir, may have taken off, but no such process has begun for setting up of AIIMS in the Valley as of now.
He also appealed to the committee members to defer their agitation in view of the Amarnath Yatra, Vaisho Devi cave shrine visit and the tourism season.
"I appeal to people and members of coordination committee, who are on path of agitation, should defer any type of agitation over the issue in view of the ongoing Amarnath Yatra", he said adding, "It is the season of pilgrimage to Amarnath and Vaisho Devi cave shrines besides the tourism season so they should reconsider their decision of going on agitation".
"However protest is a democratic right and we can go for it but with a caution that any type of agitation should not create problems in smooth conduct of Amarnath Yatra", he added.
"I hope that everything will be put right soon and the AIIMS announcement would be made to keep in view the aspirations of the people of Jammu with it", he added.