The recently launched Chief Minister Dr. Kalaignar’s Health Insurance Scheme for Life Saving Treatments has evoked tremendous response in the State and in the last four months of its implementation as many as 22,441 persons underwent free surgery at a total cost of Rs.76.63 crore, said Health Minister M. R. K. Panneerselvam at Tirumanur in Ariyalur district on Wednesday.

Addressing the function after inaugurating the upgraded 30-bed primary health centre with all facilities built at a total cost of Rs.58 lakh at Tirumanur, the Minister said that about 1.38 crore people had already been enrolled under the health insurance scheme in State against the target of one crore people and pointed out that photographing of all the beneficiaries would be completed in a month’s time. He said that biometric smart cards had already been issued to about 89 lakh beneficiaries under the scheme.

Mr. Panneerselvam pointed out that all the upgraded 30-bed PHCs would function round the clock. The latest medical equipments including for scanning, etc had been provided to all Government hospitals and upgraded PHCs on par with the private multi speciality hospitals. People in rural areas are coming in large numbers for getting treatment at the PHCs.

The Minister said that he would consider upgrading the Government Hospital at Ariyalur as District Headquarters Hospital.

Mr Panneerselvam pointed out that the Government had appointed a total of 28,800 medical and para medical staff in the last three years. He said that the Government had allocated nearly Rs. 3,991 crore for health care in the State during the current year including Rs.1,232 crore for construction of hospital buildings, etc. He said that the construction of buildings for Government medical college at Perambalur would begin soon and the college would start functioning from the next academic year.

The Minister distributed free spectacles to 50 school children and welfare assistance to 31 pregnant women under Dr. Muthulakshmi Reddy maternity welfare scheme.

Transport Minister K.N.Nehru said that the Government was ready to operate more buses depending on the feasibility. He pointed out that in the mofussil routes, each bus was incurring a loss of Rs.3,000 per day and in the town buses the loss about Rs.2,500 per day. He pointed out that more than 2,000 new bus routes were introduced in the last three years.

Ariyalur Collector T.Abraham stressed the need for upgrading the Government hospital at Ariyalur as district Headquarters hospital and for grant permits for operating share autorickshaws in Ariyalur district.

MLAs Palai T. Amaramurthy (Ariyalur) and S.S. Sivasankar (Andimadam) and others spoke.