Special Correspondent

TAMBARAM: Postgraduate students at the National Institute of Siddha in Tambaram Sanatorium staged a sit-in protest inside the premises on Thursday in support of their demands including greater thrust on research.

A majority of the 116 students took part in the protest. They said C. N. Deivanayagam, Chairman of Scientific Advisory Committee of NIS, visited the outpatient block every Thursday and prescribed medicines to patients. Stating that Dr. Deivanayagam was an allopathic doctor, permitting him to consult patients went against the basic objective of establishing the institute. They said an important aspect of setting up the NIS was to give thrust to research on Siddha medicine. However, students were not part of any research activities or projects and even the first batch of postgraduate students had completed their course without any exposure to research.

The hospital lacked even basic equipment such as scanning, X-ray and ECG. The laboratory on the ground floor was shifted to the first floor about four months ago, posing severe problems to patients.

Reacting to the charges, NIS authorities said orders were placed for purchasing the equipment.

Dr. Deivanayagam regretted that the students had resorted to the protest. “I am not running a parallel out patient block. I just visit a special clinic once a week for recording and solving of problems that require research,” he told The Hindu. He added that he met only those who insisted on seeing him and that too in the presence of a Professor and a medical officer of NIS to offer a combination of modern medicine as part of a “research oriented integration,” adding he never met patients alone. And the Scientific Advisory Committee determines how best the NIS could be built up and for this purpose, it gets first hand information from patients, he said.