Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann warmly welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday and described the January 5 incident as “unfortunate” when the Prime Minister had to return without attending an event in Ferozepur.
PM Modi inaugurated the 300-bed Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital and Research Center in Mohali’s Mullanpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh on Wednesday.
On January 5 this year, the Prime Minister’s convoy was stranded on an overpass due to a protester blockade in Ferozepur. After that, Prime Minister Modi returned without attending an event, including a rally. Later, the Supreme Court even appointed a five-member committee to investigate the alleged security breach.
At Wednesday’s meeting, Mann described the cancer hospital as a great gift from Prime Minister Modi to the state.
Calling Punjab the “most beautiful jewel in the ring of the country”, the prime minister said strenuous efforts are being made to restore the state’s pristine glory.
He said that due to the failure of previous governments, the state government initially had to deal with some law and order issues, but now things are fully under control.
“Unfortunately, it is sad to say that when you came here on January 5, your program had to be cancelled. But Punjab welcomes you today. You are the Prime Minister of the country and it is our responsibility to welcome you. Punjabis stand known for their hospitality,” said Mr Mann during his speech.
Mr Mann also asked Prime Minister Modi to announce “gifts” for Punjab.
“I welcome you from the side of the state government. I expect that you have come to Punjab after a long time and that you will announce some gifts for Punjab,” he said.
The CM also congratulated the prime minister with a scarf and a replica of the Golden Temple.
When Mr Mann started his speech, some BJP supporters shouted slogans in favor of Prime Minister Modi. They shouted slogans again as Mr. Mann addressed the meeting.
Referring to the hospital, Mr Mann said it will help the cancer-stricken state, especially the Malwa region, in fighting the deadly disease effectively.
This is a historic initiative that will help the state in its cancer crusade, he added.
“In common parlance, the Punjabis are even afraid to take the name cancer because its treatment is too expensive. But this center will make a big contribution to ensuring accessible and affordable cancer treatment in the region,” said the CM while thanking Modi for this project .
He claimed that while Punjab has played a key role in making the country self-sufficient in food production, Punjabis have fallen prey to cancer due to overuse of pesticides and insecticides.
He expressed his satisfaction that the 100-bed Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital in Sangrur has provided quality cancer treatments to people. About 37,000 patients have been successfully treated so far at this premier hospital, he said. Mann said the newly established center in Mullanpur will be a milestone in providing high-quality cancer treatment not only to patients from Punjab but also neighboring states such as Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, Uttarakhand and Rajasthan.
CM Mann said that when he was an MP, he referred three needy patients to major hospitals every month for treatment under the Prime Minister’s Relief Fund.
He also said that the state government has so far spent Rs 888 crore to treat nearly 69,000 cancer patients under the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund since 2013.
Recalling the huge contribution of Punjabis in the national freedom struggle, Mr Mann said that more than 90 percent of the people who sacrificed their lives in the freedom struggle were from Punjab.
Similarly, top athletes from Punjab like Milkha Singh, Dara Singh, Balbir Singh and others have also brought laurels to the country in the field of sports, he added.
Mr Mann said that the Punjab Police with the support of the central paramilitary force is on strict vigil to thwart the nefarious schemes of troops harmful to the peace, progress and prosperity of Punjab.
It also asked for the full support and cooperation of the Union government to effectively control the cross-border smuggling of drugs and weapons via drones.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by DailyExpertNews staff and has been published from a syndicated feed.)