Jammu and Kashmir will get two AIIMS-like facilities instead of one. Union Health Minister J P Nadda announced this on Thursday after meeting a delegation from the region that has been on the boil over the earlier decision of the Central government to have an AIIMS-like institution in Srinagar and not Jammu.
“Both the regions, Jammu & Srinagar, will be provided with AIIMS facilities and similar facilities (AIIMS) will be there in Srinagar & Jammu,” Nadda said after meeting the delegation, that included state BJP president and Lok Sabha MP Jugal Kishore Sharma, state’s Deputy CM Nirmal Singh, J&K Health Minister Lal Singh and state BJP general secretary Narendra Singh.
The delegation met Nadda in the presence of Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
A statement by the Union Heath Minister added: “The NDA government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi is committed to providing healthcare facilities for all regions. And we are committed to balanced regional growth when it comes to healthcare facilities.”
The news led to loud celebrations by BJP workers outside the party headquarters in Jammu.
However, the ambiguous announcement — senior health ministry officials were not clear if it meant two AIIMS-like institutions or merely an off campus facility in Jammu — immediately evoked a retort from the AIIMS Coordination Committee (ACC), an amalgamation of over 70 organisations leading the agitation for setting up of AIIMS in the Jammu region.
Calls and messages to Nadda for a clarification went unanswered. Speaking to The Indian Express, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh reiterated that AIIMS would be set up both at Jammu and in the Valley and the two would have similar facilities.
But in a statement, the ACC said: “The bandh call will stand till order copy is given by J P Nadda or any minister. If words written on the Twitter handle of Union health minister are true, we oppose similar facilities for two regions. We demand AIIMS in Jammu. The BJP is trying to disseminate rumours to sabotage bandh.”
“It is a ploy by BJP to sabotage the agitation…The BJP has again cheated the people by saying that Union Health Ministry today agreed to provide AIIMS like facility to Jammu region,’’ said coordination committee chairman Abhinav Sharma.
The ACC has given a call for three-day complete Jammu bandh starting July 31. It will be the third bandh observed over the issue in Jammu region.