Why govt needs Rs 30 cr to advertise Mohalla clinics, asks Akali Dal

Shiromani Akali Dal (SAD) on Monday asked Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann to explain why his government needed Rs 30 crore to advertise Mohalla clinics, for which the state was spending Rs 10 crore, if it was a ‘successful model’.

In a statement here, senior SAD leader Daljit Singh Cheema said on the one hand the Chief Minister was touting Mohalla clinics as a success with 10,00,00 people having benefited from them. He said if this was so why was the government not confident that Punjabis would spread the good word around.

“What is the need to publicise them in the state and up to South India, except to further the political agenda of AAP convener Arvind Kejriwal.”

Cheema said the truth was that Mohalla clinics had failed in both Delhi and Punjab. He said instead of accepting this reality, the government was trying to sell this model in other states at the expense of the Punjab exchequer.

He said the government was not stopping at this. “It is even threatening and implicating the former health secretary who refused to approve the Rs 30 crore publicity proposal.”

Cheema demanded that if the government did not have anything to hide, it should put the entire file on the issue in public domain.

“Let the people judge for themselves as to who is right.” he added. Cheema also detailed how the government had procured cheap publicity by converting Suvidha Kendras into Mohalla clinics.

“Now the same is being done in the case of primary health centres which are being closed so that they can be rebranded as Mohalla clinics.”

He said Bhagwant Mann should realise that Punjab already had primary health centres and did not need more dispensaries in the name of Mohalla clinics.

He said what was needed was good secondary and super speciality healthcare. “Let us not take the state backwards,” he asked the chief minister while asking him to review the decision so that the state health sector and particularly rural health sector was not disrupted.

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