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Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Punjab: Arvind Kejriwal promises free health services if voted to power in 2022

Slamming the Congress over the recent happenings in the state, including the resignation of Punjab chief Navjot Singh Sidhu, Kejriwal said, "There's so much infighting that the government has disappeared.”

Written by Divya Goyal | Ludhiana |
Updated: October 1, 2021 12:00:29 am
AAP chief Arvind Kejriwal addresses a press conference in Ludhiana on Thursday. (Express Photo: Gurmeet Singh)

Aam Aadmi Party national convener Arvind Kejriwal Thursday promised free treatment and medicines for all at government hospitals in Punjab if his party is voted to power in the Assembly elections due early next year.

Announcing second list of six pre-poll promises, which he termed as “health guarantee”, at an event in Ludhiana, the Delhi CM said his party will ensure free and best treatment for all; free medicines, tests and surgeries; a health card for all; “pind clinics” in every village and ward clinics in every city; complete revamp of the existing government hospitals; and free treatment for road accident victims.

“We will provide free and best treatment to every person in Punjab at government hospitals, which will be at par with private hospitals. All medicines and tests, treatment and surgery, even it costs Rs 10-20 lakh, will be free. It is my guarantee,” he said at a news conference here at the end of his two-day tour of the poll-bound state.

Every Punjab resident will be issued a health card, which will have that person’s medical history and will end the need to carry hard copies of reports, he said.

Claiming that the AAP has changed the shape of government hospitals in Delhi, he said the “world famous mohalla clinics” of national capital Delhi will be replicated in Punjab in form of 16,000 “pind clinics” in every village and “ward clinics” in the cities. He said all existing government hospitals will be revamped, renovated, and upgraded like private facilities and more health facilities will be set up.

“The condition in government hospitals in Punjab is so bad that you don’t get treatment. Only PGIMER Chandigarh is an exception. There are no machines, doctors or nurses or medicines at government facilities. People are left with no option but to go to private hospitals,” he said, adding that the condition of the government hospitals in Delhi was also the same as Punjab seven years ago “but we changed the face of public health services in the national capital”.

AAP state unit president Bhagwant Mann claimed that patients from state are referred to to Delhi for treatment. “Why can’t patients be given proper treatment in Punjab? We want an effective government so that our patients don’t have to go to Delhi. Kabootaran de aalaney ne sarkaari hasptaalan di X-ray machine ch (Pigeons have made nests in X-ray machines at government hospitals). I gave ventilators to hospitals, but there was no staff to operate them,” said Mann.

Party’s Punjab affairs in-charge Jarnail Singh and co-incharge Raghav Chadha and former IG Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh were also present.

Earlier, taking a dig at the ongoing wrangling in the ruling Congress, Kejriwal said that people had brought the party to power with high hopes. “But today the government has disappeared. Congress has reduced the government into a ‘tamasha’. Dirty politics and infighting is going on. Every Congress leader wants to become CM. People don’t know to whom they should go to get their issues resolved,” Kejriwal said.

The Delhi CM said the AAP is the only party thinking about their problems right now. “Our party has started planning for the better future and progress of Punjab and Punjabis. Whatever promises we are making here in Punjab, we have already fulfilled them in Delhi,” he said.

During his last Punjab tour, Kejriwal had promised 300-units of free power and 24×7 uninterrupted supply if AAP is voted to power.

Asked from where the government will get money to fulfil the promises, Kejriwal said that their experience of running government in Delhi shows that providing public amenities doesn’t cost much. “All you need is intention. When we came to power in Delhi, we got constructed a flyover at Wazirpur, which was estimated to cost Rs 300 crore but was actually made at Rs 150 crore. By saving Rs 150 crore, we were able to provide the best health services to the people. The budget for free medicines and treatment in Punjab won’t exceed Rs 400 crore,” he said.

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