The development comes even as classes for the first batch, which is already running late, are set to begin in a few days
The Punjab government is apparently considering to shift the newly setup medical college in Mohali to a “better” site, citing lack of land availability for expansion.
The development comes even as classes for the first batch, which is already running late, are set to begin in a few days. The college — named Dr BR Ambedkar Institute of Medical Sciences — was set up during the previous Congress government in the buildings of the existing Mohali civil hospital, Punjab Health System Corporation (PHSC) and a training institute of the health department.
While the civil hospital is to be eventually shifted to Sector 66, Mohali, the other two offices have been moved to the Punjab School Education Board building.
However, it is learnt that the new Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is not happy with the college site, as it finds the 10-acre land available in the vicinity not adequate to expand it in future. According to the previous plan, the medical college was to be further expanded to Jujhar Nagar, which is around two kilometres from the present site. The health minister, who recently visited the college, reportedly expressed displeasure over the site selection.
“Since, we could not get the exact chunk of land that was supposed to be available for the project, the government is thinking to get some alternative land for the project where a state-of-the-art medical college can be set up,” a senior government functionary in the medical education department said, while wishing to remain anonymous.
The ₹300-crore project was sanctioned in 2012 during the Shiromani Akali Dal regime under the central-state shared funding in the ratio of 60:40. The institute will start with 100 MBBS seats, which will be eventually upgraded to 220 seats. College principal Dr Bhavneet Bhatti said all 100 students have been filled for the first batch.
The AAP’s state legislator from Mohali, Kulwant Singh, reasoned that the college site is just next to a landfill, because of which even he was pushing for it to be shifted elsewhere. An insider in the medical education department said a site near the upcoming Medicity in New Chandigarh is being considered as the alternative.
Kulwant’s predecessor and former health minister Balbir Singh Sidhu of the Congress, who was instrumental in clearing the land for the project, said the previous government had made 35 acres available for it. “When already crores have been spent on the project and the first session is set to begin after getting all necessary approvals, why does the new government want to shift the college now? We won’t let it happen,” said Sidhu.
Health and medical education minister Dr Vijay Singla was not available for comment despite repeated attempts on texts and calls. His phone was picked up by his secretary once, who said the minister was busy and would get back. All calls and texts made thereafter went unanswered.