The Cochin Medical College (CMC) will submit a project report for a cancer centre attached to the medical college. The decision was made after Union Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution K.V. Thomas said on Friday that he would take up the case if a project report was provided.

He made the remark during the foundation stone-laying ceremony for a burns unit, expansion work for the casualty section and a modern state-of-the-art lecture hall at CMC hospital here.

Eapen Joseph, former secretary of Cochin Cancer Centre and currently head of CMC’s radiology department, said a project report for a cancer centre in Kochi had been pending for long. He said the government had always given a step-motherly treatment to the city in this regard. He said he had last submitted the project report to the Cooperative Academy of Professional Education (CAPE) a few years after he had joined the medical college, but CAPE had not shown any inclination to implement the report.

Dr. Joseph had prepared the first project report about ten years ago when a cancer centre was mooted at the district General Hospital. It was sent to the Indo-Japanese Society for funding through the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA). While the cancer society had received letters from Japanese companies such as Hitachi and Mitsui stating that the project had been shortlisted, the government had never taken the initiative to send the project for funding, he said.

Dr. Joseph alleged that the project report that resulted in the setting up of the Regional Cancer Centre in Thiruvananthapuram was actually meant for Kochi. The concept of a cancer centre was mooted during late C. Achutha Menon’s tenure as Chief Minister. A professor of radiology at Kottayam Medical College, C.P. Mathew, had prepared the project report for the cancer centre and it was to be set up in Kochi, he said.

It was perhaps the bureaucracy that turned the tide against Kochi, Dr. Joseph alleged. Even today when Finance Minister K.M. Mani’s budget had earmarked Rs. 5 crore as the initial amount to begin a cancer centre in mid-Kerala region, there was no one to take the initiative to realise the project, he said. The fund would lapse if a report was not submitted before the next budget is presented in January.

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