Thursday, November 1, 2001, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Badal on re-inauguration spree?
Varinder Singh
Tribune News Service

Jalandhar, October 31
Is the Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Parkash Singh Badal, on a reinauguration spree?

It seems so if two ambitious city projects — Regional Centre of Guru Nanak Dev University and the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences — conceived by the previous government are any indication.

The Regional Centre at Ladhewali, near here, was virtually “re-inaugurated” by Mr Badal on Sunday. It was originally inaugurated by the then Punjab Chief Minister, Mrs Rajinder Kaur Bhattal. He is now scheduled to re-inaugurate the Rs 200 crore Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences adjoining the Defence Colony on November 4.

The prestigious Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences project, too, was originally inaugurated by the then Punjab Chief Minister, Mr Beant Singh, in 1993. The project was said to be the brainchild of Mr Beant Singh and Mr Inder Kumar Gujral who had announced a hefty grant of Rs 25 crore for it after he rose to the position of Prime Minister.

What is more intriguing is that the institute authorities are feigning ignorance about the earlier inauguration. There is no trace of the foundation stone which was laid by Mr Beant Singh to mark the inauguration. Some residents of the nearby Defence Colony said they had not seen the foundation stone laid by Mr Beant Singh for the past more than a year when “somehow it had got broken”.

The fate of the foundation stone at GNDU Regional Centre with Mrs Bhattal’s name has been even worse. It is said it was concealed by the organisers under the very dais from which Mr Badal and the GNDU Vice-Chancellor, Dr S.P. Singh, had addressed the gathering on Sunday.

The Punjab Medical Education Minister, Mr Manoranjan Kalia, said that Mr Badal was going to “inaugurate” the medical institute on November 4, while Dr Baljit Singh, principal of the medical institute, maintained that he was not aware whether the institute was inaugurated earlier by Mr Beant Singh.

He, however, said an amount of Rs 15 crore of the Rs 25 crore grant by Mr Gujral had been received and utilised for the construction of certain blocks of the institute. Dr Baljit Singh said the institute would be completed within a period of 30 months.

Ironically, though the college had been granted a huge amount as grant by Mr Gujral in 1997, no construction work, except for a small administrative block, has been started even though Mr Badal is the chairman of the governing body of the college.

Meanwhile, Mr Balbir Singh, local MP, has alleged that Mr Badal is “hijacking” the projects initiated by the previous Congress government with an eye on the elections.

“I had given a grant of Rs 10 lakh for GNDU Regional Centre. But Mr Badal “inaugurated” it without giving a single penny for its development, he alleged.

Mr Avtar Henry, a local MLA, also criticised the Punjab Government on the issue.

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