Tamil Nadu topped the list in voluntary blood donation last year, said Labour Minister T.M. Anbarasan here on Thursday.

Speaking after launching a State-wide blood donation drive organised by the Rotary International Districts of Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, Mr. Anbarasan said 6.32 lakh persons donated blood last year, of which 5.81 lakh persons did voluntarily.

The State government was in the process of creating a Metropolitan Blood Bank in the city at a cost of Rs.400 crore as part of its move to increase the number of donors and for proper storage of collected blood. A total of 258 blood banks were functioning in the State of which 83 were run by the State government, 14 by the Central government and the remaining 181 by private organisations. The government was taking all efforts to create awareness about blood donation among people.

R. Sriram, district chairman, blood and organ donation, Rotary International, said the drive on Thursday would help in sourcing 15,000 new blood donors in the Sate. As part of the drive the Rotary would also organise blood donation camps in 150 places the same day.

Several people were not donating blood due to lack of awareness, said V. Raja Seenivasan, district governor nominee of Rotary International District 3230. Due to this there was shortage of blood. The country's per day requirement was estimated to be between seven to eight million units. However, the available quantity was only 5.5 million units.

K.S. Sripathi, Chief Information Commissioner, Tamil Nadu, and G. Olivannan, district governor, Rotary International District 3230, spoke.