‘Cancer centre for Kochi under consideration’

The government will soon take over the Cochin Medical College (CMC), Minister for Fisheries, Ports and Excise K. Babu has said.

Breaking the silence on the issue that had been brewing for several months, Mr. Babu on Friday told The Hindu that the government’s financial commitments to five other government medical colleges in the State had resulted in the delay in takeover.

Cancer centre

A cancer centre too in under the consideration of the government. The Ministry of Heath had asked for a project report on the centre, he said. Ministers from the district had evinced interest in the project, he added.

Public campaign

The public campaign for a cancer centre of international standards at the CMC campus and for government takeover of the college has been aggressive for over a year. The campaign, led by former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer and literary critic M.K. Sanoo among others, had been calling for political support to the movement.

The campaign also called for utilising the budgetary allocation of Rs. 5 crore earmarked for a caner centre in central Kerala region.

Kochi lacks a cancer centre with modern facilities to handle the rising number of cancer cases being reported in the region.

While the Kochi Mayor moved a resolution for a cancer centre in the corporation council, no minister or MLA from the district has lent support to the campaign yet.

Project report

Though the Health Ministry had demanded a project report from the director of Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, on a cancer centre, it is learnt that the Ministry failed to give specifics of the project.

It is reliably learnt that the RCC director had provided a report for a 100-bed state-of-the-art cancer centre at an estimated cost of about Rs. 300-400 crore.

However, the report is yet to be tabled in the Cabinet.

The issue of the medical college takeover had been pending before the government for nearly eight months. Though the government announced its willingness to take over the medical college, its dithering on the subject had led to a general mistrust among the public. While students, a section of teachers and other staff at CMC hoped that the takeover would happen before admissions to the current academic session, the delay led to speculation over corrupt deals to secure NRI seats at the college.

Confusion likely

Further delay in takeover of the college is likely to create confusion in appointment of faculty as several departments in the college are gearing up for inspection for post-graduate courses.

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