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AIIMS to come up in Jammu ‘First’: Jitendra

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Jammu: Setting aside all the controversies at rest over the setting up of All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Jammu and Kashmir, the Minister of State in the PMO, Jitendra Singh, asserted that the institute will be set up in Jammu before any other part of the state. Singh’s statement comes in the wake of a controversy that the medical institute might be set up in Srinagar first.
“I want to clarify one thing before you. AIIMS will definitely be set up in Jammu and no such institute will  come up in any part of the state unless and until AIIMS is set up first in Jammu,” he said at a press conference held as a part of “Saal Ek Shuruaat Anek” campaign.
He was seeking to put a lid on the controversy in the wake of reports that AIIMS could be set up in Kashmir before Jammu.
“Some people are trying to fish in the troubled waters but we are committed to the people of Jammu and we will fulfill the commitment made to them”, he said.
When asked about revocation of AFSPA from the state the minister said security agencies should have the last word instead of any political functionary.
He further asserted that “we will not get AIIMS issue hijacked by those who detrimental to the interests of Jammu as we have fought over the issue past several decades in opposition.”
Hitting out at Congress for raking up the AIIMS issue, Singh referred to the Super Speciality Hospital in Jammu, and said, “what for has this building come up? The foundation for AIIMS was laid 10 years ago during Vajpayee government when Sushma Swaraj was the Union Health Minister.”
After the change of guard at the Centre, the Congress government did not carry the project forward and the building was later converted into Super Speciality Hospital, he said.
“The history of struggle for AIIMS is very old. It goes to the period of late 1960s when Medical College Srinagar was set up and later after the struggle by people of Jammu, a medical college was also set up along with Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences in 1975 as SKIMS was itself an AIIMS type institute”, he said.
Asserting that there was no dearth of central funds for Jammu and Kashmir, Jitendra said the state has been given money whenever it has asked for.
He said while the Centre had not released the full amount of Rs 44,000 crore under the proposal submitted by the state government for the relief and rehabilitation of flood affected people, it had released some part of it from time to time.
The Union minister said the state raised objections when the Centre asked for details as to how it had reached the figure of Rs 44,000 crore.
“When we asked the state as to how it arrived at a figure of Rs 44,000 crore, they were annoyed. They raised objection as to how we asked for the accountability. They blew it out of proportion that Centre was against Kashmir, that Centre wants Kashmir out of India. Then we did not ask for anything,” Singh said.
“If the security agencies feel that there is an improvement in the situation or this is not the right time for revocation of AFSPA in Jammu and Kashmir, that should suffice and we should not create an issue time and again,” Singh said.
He was replying to a question on the demand for revocation of AFSPA in the state from some quarters, including PDP which is ruling the state along with BJP.
On the issue of raising of Pakistani flags in Kashmir and hardline Hurriyat leader Syed Ali Geelani’s statement advocating it, the minister said, “Union Home Ministry and Government of India have made it clear that nobody has the right to wave Pakistani flags and incite masses.

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