CHANDIGARH, APRIL 10: Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh on Friday proposed to the central government a Rs 550 crore project for setting up an ‘Advanced Centre for Virology’ in the state, with land to be offered by his government free of cost.
The Chief Minister wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi requesting him to direct the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to set up the proposed centre, which would focus on addressing regional, national and global needs in virology, diagnostic, research and therapeutic evaluations to cope with the COVID-19 pandemic.
Pointing to the unprecedented crisis faced by the country, the Chief Minister noted that the sudden onset of this virus illness and its acquiring pandemic proportions in a matter of only two months have drawn attention towards the need to devote greater resources of the Government on cutting-edge research in the field of virology. At present, the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune is the only institution in the country capable of providing a well-coordinated medical and public health response to such an emergency, he added.
In the present scenario wherein the world is in the grip of the highly infectious SARS COV -19 (COVID -19) pandemic, an Advanced Centre for Diagnostic Virology and Research as a regional reference laboratory for virus diagnosis and research is much required, the Chief Minister stressed. The frequent epidemics caused by viruses pose a constant threat and it is imperative for us to be future ready to predict and detect these at the earliest so that necessary preventive steps could be taken, he said, adding that the proposal to establish the centre in Punjab will be a step in this direction.
The state government thus proposed a specialised centre in Medicity, New Chandigarh, which would be well placed to serve the interests of the North-Western region given Chandigarh’s international air connectivity. He also pointed out that Centre could easily be incubated in PGIMER, which is located at only 7-8 kilometers from the proposed Medicity.