Senior leader of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) and Leader of the Opposition Harpal Singh Cheema, has expressed his grave concern over the deteriorating public health facilities in the state, alleging that the subsequent governments were solely responsible for their anti-people policies and for allocating shoe-string annual budget to augmenting health services.
He said there was an urgent need for free medical treatment on the lines of the Kejriwal government in Delhi for the people of the state, who were wrestling with high rise inflation and economic slowdown.
In a statement issued from party headquarters, Harpal Singh Cheema said that the written allegations of government doctors absenting themselves from duty by paying hefty amount, levelled by a social activist and former Punjab government official, Dr Pyare Lal Garg, were of serious nature, which have earned disgrace for the government in the saddle.
Cheema demanded that a special committee of Punjab Vidhan Sabha comprising MLAs and representatives of all parties and investigating agencies experts, be constituted to investigate the allegations within a timeframe to unearth the role of the health mafia.
The LoP said that Dr. Payre Lal Garg, in an article, had levelled serious allegations that a large number of doctors in government dispensaries in the rural areas, especially those under the Panchayat Department, were allowed to absent themselves from duty by paying hefty amounts, which had badly hit the services in the rural dispensaries where doctors were not seen around for days.
Cheema further said that the allegations levelled by Dr Garg, a former registrar of Baba Farid University, who had been handling various top responsibilities in the state health sector from time to time, needed to be investigated seriously and within a timeframe.
The AAP leader stressed the need for enhancing annual budget allocation for health and medical education for the financial year 2020-21, on the lines of the Arvind Kejriwal’s government in Delhi.
Cheema said that only 3.48 per cent of the total budget for health and medical education in the state was earmarked during the financial year 2019-2020, which did not even make for 1 per cent of the state’s GDP, as a result of which the health services were badly hit, leading to staff crunch and shortage of medicines at government hospitals and dispensaries.
Cheema said that the Kejriwal government in Delhi was spending more than 12 per cent of its total budget on public health services, which had led the people availing themselves of free medicines and medical tests at government hospitals, dispensaries and mohalla clinics there.