Representatives cutting across political lines put up a united front on Saturday for a state-of-the-art cancer institute in Kochi district. The leaders extended support to the ongoing people’s movement for the institute at a meeting convened at the house of V.R. Krishna Iyer, former judge of the Supreme Court.

Two key decisions were taken: demand immediate sanction for using Rs.5 crore set apart for the institute in this year’s budget before the next budget and prepare a detailed project report. They also wanted the funds be used to lay the ground for the institute before the declaration of the general elections.

City-based urologist N.K. Sanil, convenor of the meeting, said the Regional Cancer Centre director’s project report, prepared in a hurried manner, could not be made a point of discussion. The DPR should be a blueprint for the institute.

He said the Chief Minister’s meeting scheduled for Friday at the Ernakulam Guest House would take up the project for discussion. The meeting would reveal the government’s stand on the issue.

“The movement for a cancer centre in Kochi, attached to the medical college in Kalamassery, will not accept anything insubstantial,” said Dr. Sanil.

At the meeting, representatives laid stress on te rising number of cancer cases and the need for a modern cancer treatment and research centre. The Regional Cancer Centre, Thiruvananthapuram, was burdened with an overwhelming number of cases and the Malabar Cancer Centre was yet to evolve into a major centre for treatment.

The total number of new cases reported in the General Hospital at Ernakulam (about 2,500) was on par with those in some of the medical colleges, they noted.

For the poor, a comprehensive treatment centre was not present in Kochi. As the government had set in motion the takeover procedures of the Cochin Medical College at Kalamassery, people would benefit if a cancer centre comes up there.

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