Coir and Cooperation Minister G. Sudhakaran said here on Sunday that vested interests were working overtime to sabotage the growth of the cooperative health care sector.

Talking to reporters, Mr. Sudhakaran cited the recent strikes and attacks at the Cooperative Medical College in Kochi and its satellite unit, the Punnapra Cooperative Hospital in Alappuzha.

Pointing out that students of these colleges would never damage their own property, the Minister said that outside forces were involved in the untoward incidents in both institutions.

These forces, obviously linked to certain private hospitals, were worried over the fact that the growth of the cooperative health sector, which was witnessing the setting up of more and more affordable hospitals across the State for the poor. The reasons cited for the strike at the Kochi Cooperative Medical College – the transfer of its medical director and other staff to the Punnapra satellite unit – were bogus, the Minister said.

“Nobody has been forcibly transferred. Those who come to the Punnapra unit are being offered justified incentives as well. As for the students, we are doing everything to ensure that they have all the required facilities. So it is evident that it is not the students who are behind these incidents. There are vested interests involved in a conspiracy against the cooperative health care sector, which is emerging as an alternative to the exploitative ways of the private sector. This is also a result of the deterioration in ethics in the medical profession,” Mr. Sudhakaran said.

New unit

Announcing that a cardiac surgery unit would be opened at the Punnapra hospital in four months, the Minister said the government was ready to invest in a similar cardiac unit in the CMC, Kochi as well, provided the staff and management there were willing. The cardiac unit to come up at Punnapra would have an operation theatre, a Cath Lab, 10 intensive care unit beds, 64 general beds, 14 special rooms, a coronary care unit and a cardiology outpatient wing, all at a cost of Rs.10 crore excluding the cost for constructing the building.

Development works

“We will go ahead with the Rs.55 crore worth developmental works at the Kochi CMC. The only obstacle is that there have been no contractors who have come forward,” he said.

The Minister, lamenting that it was “difficult to do good things in Kerala,” said a recent audit revealed that there were 64 students at the CMC who were not paying any fees, amounting to a loss of Rs.2.20 crore to the government. The medical director or the principal were yet to inform the government about this, and the government had found this on its own.

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