For PM's visit, Chandigarh hospitals' gates to be closed

Chandigarh, Dec 29 : The main gates of Chandigarh's two main hospitals will be shut when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reaches here Monday to attend an event in neighbouring Punjab's Mohali district.

The Chandigarh Police have ordered the closure of the main gates of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) and the Government Multi-Specialty Hospital (GMSH) at Sector 16 during the visit.

Manmohan Singh will lay the foundation stone of a Rs.450-crore cancer hospital and research centre being set up in collaboration with the Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) on the lines of the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Dec 30 afternoon.

The cancer hospital is being set up at Mullanpur in Punjab's Mohali district, 20 km from here.

Police sources said traffic would be stopped all along the 30-km route for over 30 minutes when the prime minister moves from the airport to the venue.

"The main gate of PGI and GMSH-16, Chandigarh, shall be closed from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. (Monday) due to the visit of the prime minister to Mullanpur (Mohali). The alternative gates ... shall be open for use of the general public during this time," a police statement said.

Doctors are upset.

"The closure of the main gates will lead to harassment of patients and their attendants, especially those coming from outstation, as they will have to find their way to the alternate gates. Monday is a heavy day for PGIMER, especially in the OPDs," a senior doctor at PGIMER told IANS on the condition of anonymity.

The prime minister's visit to Chandigarh in November 2011 had drawn criticism when a vehicle carrying a critical patient was caught in a traffic jam near the PGIMER due to the VVIP visit and the 32-year-old patient died for want of timely treatment.

Security personnel blocked the vehicle as the prime minister was attending a function at the PGIMER.

Even the main gate of Panjab University, the alma mater and earlier workplace of the prime minister, will be shut during his visit.

The gates of other establishments falling along the prime minister's route will also be closed for some time. Vehicle parking and slip roads will also be restricted during the visit.

"We are taking all measures for the PM's security. The SPG (Special Protection Group) is monitoring the entire thing," a senior Punjab Police officer said.

--IANS (Posted on 29-12-2013)

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