Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Tuesday sought Central assistance for drug treatment in the state.

The CM raised the issue during his meeting with Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi when the problem of drugs also came up for discussion. Amarinder reiterated his demand for a national policy on drugs.

AIIMS Delhi had appreciated the Buprenorphine + Nalaxone therapy offered by the state’s Outdoor Opioid Assisted Treatment (OOAT) Clinics, he pointed out, underlining the need to realign OST (Opioid Substitution Therapy) of the Union government with the therapy offered by the state. Dr Vardhan said his department would be happy to support the state’s efforts.

Dr Vardhan has also sought a detailed proposal from Punjab for dedicating the second AIIMS in the state to the historic 550th Birth Anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev in response to a request for the same from Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh.

The CM said he had, in separate letters to the Union health and finance ministers, written to seek the Centre’s permission to dedicate the second AIIMS in Punjab to this special occasion.

Amarinder pointed out that the finance minister had assured consideration of the matter after the release of the Union Budget. The first All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is already coming up in Bathinda and the state has proposed the second one either in Ludhiana or Jalandhar.

Talking to media persons after his meeting with the Union health minister, Amarinder said the Rs 250 crore PIMS Jalandhar building could be used for this purpose. He also stated that all clearance for the AIIMS Bathinda project had been given by the state government and nothing was pending with it.