Meeting the long-felt need of a super-speciality ward to treat patients with burn injuries, Chief Minister Jayalalithaa on Monday announced setting up of a Centre of Excellence at Government Hospital in Sivakasi that would go a long way in saving the lives of workers of cracker units.

She has also announced establishment of a special training centre to educate workers of cracker units on various chemicals and explosives to ensure manufacturing of quality crackers without fire accidents. The Chief Minister made announcement on these facilities at the Collectors' conference held in Chennai on Monday.

The three taluks of Sivakasi, Sattur and Virudhunagar have 689 licensed cracker units employing over 40,000 workers. On an average, three to five workers are killed every month owing to fire accidents in the district. Besides seven to 10 persons are injured.

Owing to lack of advanced medical facility for burn victims at the Sivakasi Government Hospital, many of the accident victims succumbed to burns since it took long time to move them to the Government Rajaji Hospital or private hospitals in Madurai.

Virudhunagar Collector M. Balaji had sent a proposal on the super-speciality burns ward at a cost of Rs. 4 crore in August.

The district administration has planned for a 20-bedded ward with advanced trauma care and intensive care units. It has also proposed to set up post-surgery ward, blood bank and laboratory. The plan also envisages procurement of medical equipment such as heart rate monitors, oxygen facility in all rooms, and ventilators worth Rs. 90 lakh.

It was also proposed to appoint plastic surgeons, anaesthetists, orthopaedic and adequate numbers of other medical staff.