With two years to go for the next Assembly election in Punjab, the state government is preparing to start mega projects in four major cities, aiming for their completion to coincide with the end of its term in 2022.
The state Cabinet on Tuesday gave its nod to one of the projects, the rejuvenation of Buddha Nullah, a polluted water body passing through Ludhiana. The remaining three projects are providing 24X7 potable water to residents of Patiala, Jalandhar and Amritsar by treating canal water.
The Cabinet has okayed the first phase of the Buddha Nullah project, which will cost Rs 650 crore. Local Bodies Minister Brahm Mohindra told The Indian Express this was CM Capt Amarinder Singh’s dream project.
“We will soon float the tenders. This is the first time a project worth Rs 650 crore is being undertaken for the polluted water body. It will be awarded by March 31 this year and by 2022, we will see the polluted tributary of Sutlej carrying clean water,” he added.
A government statement after the meeting said that under this ambitious plan, an additional Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP) having a capacity of 275 million litres per day (MLD) including associated infrastructure would be developed, which would go a long way in solving the problems of Buddha Nallah and subsequent pollution of the Sutlej.
It added that pollution in the Buddha Nullah is a major threat to public health and the environment. The main sources of pollution are industries, dairies and some slum/localities, treated effluent from existing STPs based on UASB technology not meeting the required effluent quality, and overflow from sewer lines as the capacity of laid sewerage system and STPs is insufficient to carry the existing flow.
The National Green Tribunal has already directed the state government to take steps to immediately address the problem.
Medical college to be named after Ambedkar
The Cabinet also gave its approval to rename the Government Medical College, Mohali, after Dr B R Ambedkar. It will be renamed as Dr B R Ambedkar State Institute of Medical Sciences.
A statement said the upcoming medical college would be instrumental in serving the government’s purpose of providing affordable healthcare to the public, as well as giving students the opportunity to pursue a career in medical education.
The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare had conveyed its decision to establish a medical college in Mohali district, enabling provisions for 100 MBBS seats under the centrally sponsored scheme of ‘Establishment of New Medical College attached with the existing District/Referral Hospitals’ having over 200 beds.
The Cabinet also approved creation of 550 posts in the Government Medical Colleges at Patiala and Amritsar. The new posts would include 66 paramedics, 464 critical posts of nurses, technicians and class IV employees and 20 posts of VDRL/MRU lab projects. These posts would be instrumental in putting into use the medical machinery, equipment and infrastructure lying idle due to paucity of staff, thus providing better healthcare services to the people, said the government statement.
In addition, the Cabinet gave its approval for creation and filling up of five new posts in the Directorate of Medical Education and Research, along with revival of the already sanctioned nine posts under its restructuring plan.
The spokesperson said the Cabinet cleared the proposal for filling up 464 vacant critical posts of nurses, technicians & Class IV employees in these medical colleges. Besides, 20 posts for the Viral Research and Diagnostic Laboratory/Multi-disciplinary Research Units project at Government Medical College, Patiala and Amritsar, have also been created. This initiative would help provide atest laboratory tests to the public, and also meet minimum requisite conditions, in conformity with Medical Council of India guidelines, to make these institutions research-oriented.
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