Chandigarh, March 28
In a setback to the move to set up a National Institute of Virology (NIV) Laboratory at New Chandigarh in Mohali district, a Parliamentary Committee has proposed shifting of the facility to Jammu.
The “NIV, Chandigarh” project was set to offer post-graduate courses, training, and research in a variety of diseases, including influenza, encephalitis, dengue, chikungunya, ebola, H1N1, and Covid. The institute would have been the second NIV lab in the country.
Accepting Punjab’s request, the Centre had given in-principle approval to set up an NIV centre for the north zone in the state during the Covid-19 wave. The facility would have been instrumental in providing diagnostic support, undertaking research in basic virology, building capacity in the field of virology to promote universal health coverage, developing rapid and affordable quality diagnostic assays for viral diseases, besides offering teaching courses in MSc medical virology and DM virology.
However, due to a land dispute, the Jammu authority identified an area that was later deemed unsuitable by the committee. The UT of Jammu then proposed three more sites, and a team of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) experts was scheduled to visit the area soon.
The Parliamentary Committee noted all critical projects, including Institute for One Health, Nagpur; four regional NIVs; and Regional Research Platform for WHO South East Asia Region under the PM-ABHIM, were yet to see the light of the day.
The committee said shifting location of NIV from New Chandigarh to Jammu was due to lack of co-ordination between the state government and Centre.
The committee felt such last-minute changes only caused unnecessary delay in the projects and in turn procrastinate the completion of other associated projects.
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