Chandigarh, Aug 24: Learning a lesson from the past, the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab will extend a warm welcome to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on his first visit to the state under the helm of Bhagwant Mann on Wednesday.
Modi is reaching Mullanpur, located on the outskirts of the state capital Chandigarh, post-lunch to inaugurate world-class 300-bed Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, an ultra-modern cancer tertiary care facility.
In advertisements in newspapers carrying photos of Modi and Mann, the state government described the inauguration as a path-breaking milestone in state’s healthcare infrastructure.
The hospital is the first of its kind cancer care in north India, reads an advertisement.
Earlier, Modi visited the state on January 5, just ahead of the announcement of the assembly elections, to lay the foundation stone of development projects of Rs 42,750 crore comprising two mega road corridors to enhance accessibility to prominent religious centres and three health institutions in Ferozepur town, bordering Pakistan.
Owing to a major security breach, Modi had cancelled his visit midway.
Taking cognisance of the serious security lapse, the Ministry of Home Affairs had sought a detailed report from the then Congress government.
During electioneering in February, Modi toured Punjab and sought votes in the name of peace and stability.
Political observers told IANS despite political bickering between the BJP and AAP, the AAP government in the state is rolling out the red carpet for Modi’s visit to inaugurate the Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre, on the lines of Tata Memorial Hospital in Mumbai, at Medicity in New Chandigarh (Mullanpur) in Mohali district.
The foundation stone of the hospital was laid by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 30, 2013. At that time Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister.
The hospital has been built by the central government at a cost of over Rs 660 crore. It is a tertiary care hospital of 300-bed capacity and is equipped with modern facilities to treat all types of cancers.
Punjab has seen an increase in the number of cancer cases, especially in the Malwa belt in southwestern part of the state in recent years. Agriculture and environment experts have linked the rise in cancer cases to the excessive use of pesticides and insecticides in farming.
The worst affected districts are Bathinda, Mansa, Muktsar and Sangrur. A 100-bedded cancer hospital has been functional in Sangrur town since 2018.
Punjab has given 50 acre free of cost for the Rs 664 crore new project. The cancer care centre will be equipped with high-end diagnostic and treatment facilities such as two linear accelerators, brachytherapy, PECT CT, bone marrow transplant (BMT), CT simulator, MR simulator, interventional radiology and surgical facilities.