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SAD smells corruption in Punjab’s move to privatize rural health services

Chandigarh, Jan 21 (IANS) Alleging corruption in the move by the Punjab government to privatize rural healthcare services, the Shiromani Akali Dal on MOnday demanded a high-level probe into it.

“The Congress government is set to increase rural indebtedness and push more farmers into committing suicide by privatizing rural healthcare services,” said former minister Bikram Singh Majithia in a statement.

“The Congress government’s decision to wash its hands of rural healthcare by handing over 426 primary health centres as well as 90 community centres and 14 urban community health centres to private players would have catastrophic results in both rural areas as well as among the urban poor,” Majithia said.

“The move will wreck the rural economy as surveys have already pointed out that farmers have to take loans for access to private healthcare. Now, with the entire rural healthcare moving into private hands, the burden on farmers is set to increase,” he added.

Majithia said the SAD will oppose the decision of the Congress government.

“The entire decision smelled of corruption and it seemed government buildings, equipment and furniture were being handed to corporate players for ulterior reasons. There is no justification for this exercise. In case the government hands over rural healthcare to private players, it will need to pay them more than the present budget of Rs 3,600 crore for the sector,” he said.

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday had attacked the Punjab government for handing over government health centres to the private sector, saying a government which cannot run its schools and hospitals has no reason to be in power.



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