Nitin Jain


Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal’s dream of freeing the state from the clutches of deadly cancer seems to be coming close to reality with the Union Cabinet approving setting up of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) Hospital at Mullanpur on the outskirts of Chandigarh. Mullanpur is being developed as New Chandigarh.

Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, at its meeting in New Delhi recently has given formal approval to the project, a top government officer told Daily Post here, on Thursday.

The development assumes significance as the work on Rs 1,000 crore cancer and trauma satellite centre of Chandigarh PGIMER and Mumbai TMC got underway in Sangrur on Thursday.

In his characteristic way of expressing his gratitude for fulfilling the state’s demand, Badal has formally invited Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to lay the foundation stone of the Rs 500-crore prestigious project, the officer disclosed.

Punjab has already allotted, for free, 50 acres of land in the Medicity, worth almost Rs 100 crore. The Union Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) will spend Rs 400 crore on setting up the 100-bed second-of-its-type cancer hospital, on the lines of the Tata Memorial Centre (TMC) Hospital in Mumbai.

Possession of the land has been handed over to the DAE and boundary wall has been constructed at the site at the cost of Rs 50 lakh. Besides this, tree plantation at and around the site at an estimated cost of Rs 40 lakh, has also been done, the officer revealed. “Now, following the Cabinet nod, the DAE will begin the work to set up the hospital,” said the officer.

Apprising the Prime Minister of the development, Badal has, in a demi-official letter sent recently, stated that since Chandigarh is well connected with the region through road, rail and air, the proposed hospital will attract patients from all over north India.

“There is no doubt that this will become one of the most important institutions in the entire region,” said the Chief Minister, while requesting Manmohan Singh to lay the foundation stone of the project, which, Badal specifically mentioned, has been approved “only due to your (PM’s) support”.

According to the project report prepared by TMS at the behest of the Punjab government, it would be a “world class institution for a noble cause” with a mandate for service, education and research.

To be set up on the lines of TMC, Mumbai, the institution will aspire to be a tertiary care centre for cancer, promoting prevention, cure, rehabilitation and palliation for the population of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu and Kashmir, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand and Uttar Pradesh.

The infrastructure of outpatient services would aim at maximising ambulatory care and minimising the need for hospitalisation. The provision of ambulatory services in an outpatient setting would minimise morbidity and costs involved in hospitalisation and maximise services with revenue optimisation.

The outpatient services will comprise consultation, diagnostic investigations, day-care surgery, biopsies and stent placements, minimal access surgeries, laser surgeries, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

The diagnostic services will comprise laboratory and imaging services. These will be juxtaposed between the outpatient and inpatient areas, preferably in a standalone building to ensure quick access and logistics management. Surgical oncology, operation theatre complex, radiation oncology facilities, medical oncology and intensive care complex will constitute therapeutic facilities.

The inpatient services will be consistent with the intensity of care and will comprise patient rooms, general wards, intensive care unit, high dependency unit, bone marrow transplant ward, isolation rooms and mortuary.

The hospital will also provide preventive oncology service, telemedicine, rehabilitation services, support services infection control and waste management, education and training and logical clustering of facilities.

Taking lead in the country, Punjab had on October 2, 2012 launched a special campaign to weed out cancer from the border state. In the first-of-its-kind effort, not only in India but also in the world, it was found that cancer had claimed 33,318 lives during the past five years, besides 23,874 confirmed and 84,453 suspected cases of killer disease.

Comparatively, Punjab has 90.1 per lakh incidence, 215.9 per lakh prevalence and 318.9 per lakh suspects of dreaded disease.

Allaying fears on the extent of cancer in the border state, the month-long door-to-door survey had found prevalence one eighth and incidence one fifth as compared to USA.

Taking ahead the initiative, spearheaded by Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Research, Vini Mahajan, the state roped in star cricketer Yuvraj Singh as brand ambassador to undertake world’s largest drive to spread awareness and screen its entire population for detecting and curing cancer patients on September 28 and 29. 

The two-day mass cancer screening and treatment camps at all 22 district hospitals and three Government Medical Colleges in Punjab had detected 21,000 new cancer patients. ‘Punjab Cancer Drive’, as it was named, was led from the front by Badal himself.