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No discrimination with states, says Azad

PTI | Last Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 00:27

Sangrur: The Government is committed to provide improved health facilities to the people and does not discriminate with any state in health matters, Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said on Thursday.

He was speaking at foundation stone laying of PGIMER Satellite Centre at Ghabdaan in this district today.

Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi was the chief guest at the event, which was also attended by Union ministers Manish Tewari, Santosh Chaudhary, Preneet Kaur, former Union ministers Ambika Soni and Ashwani Kumar, and local MP Vijay Inder Singla.

Azad also refuted the charge that Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal had not been invited for the foundation-stone laying function.

"It was an issue concerning the health of the people. We don`t discriminate on party basis," Azad said.

He said that six days back, he had asked the PGIMER Director Dr Y K Chawla to send a formal invitation to Chief Minister Badal.

"Three days back, he (Badal) being an aged and respectful person, I personally invited him for the function and also told him that after the stone-laying ceremony there is a public meeting also, which is to be addressed by Rahul Gandhi and others. Badal sahab told me that you carry on with your programme," Azad said.

Badal has charged the Centre with "not inviting" the state government at the foundation stone laying event.

Meanwhile, Azad said that National Rural Health Mission has proved a boon in strengthening the Health infrastructure of the country.

"The Centre has sanctioned Rs 2,200 crore in the last six-seven years to further improve the health infrastructure and facilities in Punjab," he said.

Around 250 new hospitals have been set up in the state and work is in progress in strengthening another 590 other hospitals, he said.

The ASHA workers in Punjab are being funded by the Centre while 575 ANMs working in Punjab sub-centres are also being paid salary by the Central Government, he said.

Azad further said that Punjab`s 13,110 Rural Health Committees are also provided annual grants by the Central Government.

The Centre provides Rs 5 lakh annually to each District Hospital and Rs 1 lakh each to primary health centres in the state, he added.

The PGI Satellite Centre will be built at a cost of Rs 275 crore. The state government has provided 25 acres of land for this Centre.
In the first phase this Centre will have 300 beds and would have arrangements for treatment of different diseases, including cancer.
Azad said that the Centre will also have one de-addiction Centre.

First Published: Friday, October 11, 2013 - 00:27

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