Ferozepur, June 17
The Central Government has decided to consider the proposal of setting up a hospital in the Ferozepur area to cater to the needs of medical treatment of an ever-increasing number of cancer patients of the cotton belt of Punjab.
Parminder Singh, general secretary, PPCC, said the assurance was given to them by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh when a delegation of Congressmen, including former minister Avtar Singh Brar and secretary, PPCC, Bhupinder Pal Singh, met him recently.
Stating that the Centre had already sanctioned funds for an orphanage and a blind home here, he said the Prime Minister was made aware of the fact that due to the rising water and soil pollution in the farm operations, the incidence of cancer had gone up in the cotton-producing districts of southern Punjab.
Owing to the absence of hospitals and other institutions in the area, the poor cancer patients had been left with no other option than to go to a hospital in Bikaner in the neighbouring Rajasthan.
"We have suggested to the Prime Minister that an institute on the pattern of the PGI, Chandigarh, should be opened in the area where special diagnostic and treatment facilities for cancer patients should be provided," he said, adding that the Centre that had contemplated to set up eight medical institutions on the pattern of the PGI in the country, could set up one of these institutions in Ferozepur district.
The SAD-BJP government in the state that had been setting up cancer hospitals in joint venture with private players, had ignored the interests of poor patients, who would not be able to get treatment in these hospitals at affordable rates.
"What is the rationale of opening a cancer hospital in Mohali in joint venture by the Punjab government when cancer patients are found in profusion in the cotton belt comprising Bathinda, Muktsar, Faridkot, Mansa, Sangrur, Moga and Ferozepur districts?" asked Parminder Singh.
He said the Prime Minister was also urged to facilitate the raising of at least 10 battalions of paramilitary forces by recruiting unemployed youths of the border areas of Punjab as this would help in curbing the menace of smuggling.