Rare show of bonhomie as Narendra Modi opens cancer hospital in Punjab

Chandigarh : In a rare show of political bonhomie, Prime Minister Narendra Modi with AAP leader and Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann and Congress MP Manish Tewari sharing stage on Wednesday inaugurated the world-class 300-bed Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre in Mullanpur in Punjab’s Mohali district, adjoining the state capital.

The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government extended a warm welcome to Modi on his maiden visit to the state under the helm of Mann.Modi reached Mullanpur to inaugurate the ultra-modern cancer tertiary care facility after inaugurating the state-of-the-art 2,600 bed Amrita hospital in Faridabad in Haryana that will be managed by Mata Amritanandamayi Math — a charitable organisation spearheaded by its namesake Mata Amritanandamayi.

The cancer hospital, built at a cost of over Rs 660 crore and will function as a hub of cancer care and treatment in the region, is the first of its kind cancer care in north India, whose foundation stone was laid by then Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on December 30, 2013.At that time Parkash Singh Badal was the Chief Minister in a coalition of the Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD)-BJP government.

At the inauguration, several Punjab Cabinet ministers, newly inducted BJP leaders Sunil Jakhar and Raj Kumar Verka, both former Congress legislators, state BJP chief Ashwani Sharma, besides senior state officers were present.Party activists of both the BJP and AAP were present in strength among the gathering.

The Prime Minister landed at the Technical Airport in Chandigarh from where he flew by chopper to Mullanpur, where Modi was given a grand welcome by the BJP activists amid slogans of “Jai Shri Ram”.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 the accessibility to prominent religious centres and three health institutions in Ferozepur town, bordering Pakistan.

Owing to a major security breach during the tenure of former Chief Minister Charanjit Singh Channi, Modi had cancelled his visit midway.Taking cognizance of the serious security lapse, the Ministry of Home Affairs had sought a detailed report from the then Congress government.Three-tier security arrangements were made in Mohali and surrounding areas, ahead of Modi’s visit.

More than 3,000 police personnel were deputed and at least 50 special checkpoints were set up.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 rolled 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 Mullanpur in New Chandigarh.

Responding to the hospital inauguration, SAD chief Sukhbir Badal said, “Many congratulations to Punjabis that a seed which was sown in 2012 by Parkash Badal has finally borne fruit with inauguration of Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Centre being done by PM Narendra Modi.

“I’m sure the institute will go a long way in tackling the scourge of cancer in Punjab,” he added.The hospital 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 hospital. 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.

 

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