Demand for AIIMS more than the issue of regionalism and neglect

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Jammu and Kashmir News

Jammu region is struggling for establishment of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences in the region. Protests are being held, political and regional parties are amalgamating for a united fight against the diversion of the AIIMS to Kashmir. It has been over a month that almost every political party is eager to come up together for one cause that is again being seen through the prism of regionalism. Like many other times before, this year too Jammu is seething because of this neglect from the government’s side despite all the promises made which assured an evident change in this term.

However, the yearning is older than just a few months and is not only backed by the chaos of regionalism but also the lack of better healthcare facilities in Jammu. The Jammu region comprises of 10 districts and over so many years the medical facilities in this region had left the people unsatisfied and rejected compared to Kashmir which has been granted more in terms of quantity as well as quality. The population in Jammu has grown up to 53.78 lakh in 2011 from 27.18 lakh in 1981 and with such rise and the lack of facilities, the region easily qualifies for AIIMS. Geographically too, Jammu region has 26293 sq km area compared to Kashmir, that has 15948 sq km area.

Official records paint a grim picture of the existing healthcare facilities in this region. Out of 358 sanctioned posts of faculty in Government Medical College and Hospital, Jammu, as many as 4 percent posts remain vacant. The hospital caters to the patients from whole of Jammu province, part of the Kashmir valley and Ladakh. Due to such massive shortage in the Hospital, the people from the region and adjoining areas are forced to move out while some cannot even afford.

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Ten districts of Jammu are also affected with the unavailability of doctors as over 50 percent posts are lying vacant in the hospitals in these districts. Out of the total 1604 sanctioned posts of doctor in the region, 825 are lying vacant.

The establishment of AIIMS will cater to the local population as well as tourists and pilgrims. Also, the neighboring states like Himachal Pradesh and Punjab will get a relief with the establishment of AIIMS in the region.

This diversion is being portrayed on communal lines by some communalists but the rage is not against Kashmir, the fight is asking for Jammu’s right to have better medical facilities. More facilities, more doctors, more super specialties for the people is a need for Jammu, that lacks high quality faculty and latest technological equipments and the people are usually forced to go either to Delhi or Chandigarh.