Centre open to joint venture with the State

The demand for a state-of-the-art cancer centre in Kochi seemed closer to realisation with P. Rajeev, MP, quoting Prime Minister Manmohan Sigh as asking the stakeholders to consider that in-principle approval has been granted for the proposed centre.

Mr. Rajeev conveyed this at a meeting convened by Mayor Tony Chammany in association with the movement spearheaded by former Supreme Court judge V.R. Krishna Iyer to mobilise support for the project.

The meeting witnessed people’s representatives, cutting across political affiliations, pledging support to the project.

Mr. Rajeev said that the Union government was open to a joint venture with the State government. Such a decision was evolved at a meeting with Union Health Minister Gulam Nabi Azad attended by senior officials of the Health Ministry. A Joint Secretary in the ministry has been asked to take follow-up measures on the proposal, he said.

Mr. Rajeev recollected that he had met Mr. Azad in 2010 with a proposal for a medical college with a national-level diagnostic centre, psychiatry rehabilitation centre, and a cancer centre. However, that proposal didn’t materialise.

Mr. Iyer and literary critic M.K. Sanoo batted for the cancer centre sharing their dream for an institution that would be able to muster the support of the World Health Organisation and elevate the State’s prestige globally.

Mr. Sanoo said he happened to see the poor cancer patients at the Cancer Service Society. A study conducted in this connection led to the Krishna Iyer Movement’s demand for a cancer centre of international standards. He also called for the fructification of the project with all-round support cutting across religious, caste, and political divides.

Hailing the government’s move to take over the Cooperative Medical College, Mr. Iyer called for an expert committee to study the establishment of the cancer centre.

Union Minister of State for Food K.V. Thomas said that all possible efforts would be made to elicit assistance from the Union government for the proposed centre. Former Collector K.R. Viswambaran called for allocation of funds for the project in the next Union and State budgets. Mayor Tony Chammany presided. Ministers K. Babu and V.K. Ebrahim Kunju; MPs Charles Diaz and K.P. Dhanapalan; MLAs S. Sarma, Dominic Presentation, Benny Behanan, Hibi Eden, and Ludy Lewis; and GCDA Chairman N. Venugopal, were among those present.

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