Hyderabad

Even a rupee can help fund its cause

For his dream project of taking to rural India the scientific advancements in genetic screening, diagnosis and counselling, the pioneer of DNA fingerprinting in the country, Lalji Singh, is seeking donations from people, even if it is Re.1.

“If each Indian donates even a rupee and associates with Genome Foundation, we will have Rs.122 crore to quickly take [its] initiatives ahead,” said the former director of the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), who recently completed his term as Vice-Chancellor of Banaras Hindu University.

The non-profit foundation was conceived by Dr. Singh a decade ago and the then A.P. government had provided it a 4.58-acre site at Medipally in Ranga Reddy district, where it would set up its headquarters and rural training centre at an estimated cost of Rs.10 crore.

However, the site provided was not free of litigations, resulting in protracted legal battles.

“The compound wall we built up was broken several times. I recently met the city police top brass on the issue. Quite a few lakhs have been spent by us to protect the land that was given free [of cost],” he explains.

Set up with donations, and with support from charitable organisations, doctors, scientists and volunteers, the Genome Foundation aims to address the impact of genetic diseases faced by the rural populace through a network of centres in each district, connected to the main centre at Hyderabad.

“We look at taking authentic and affordable genetic diagnostic services to rural areas,” he states.

Chipping in

Dr. Singh has plans to involve retired scientists, doctors and others who could contribute their expertise on a voluntary basis. “A stores in-charge who retired from the CCMB is voluntarily helping in instrumentation and other matters, and that’s how we intend to build the driving force behind Genome Foundation,” he explains.

To start with, the foundation established a rural centre at Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh, complete with state-of-the-art diagnostic facilities. The facility, which runs wholly on solar energy, was helped by the Rs.35 lakh provided by the Department of Science and Technology (DST).

The foundation has received donations in the form of costly equipment from different companies – to the tune of Rs.3 crore – as also a provision of Rs.3.50 crore from the DST. However, for the construction of its headquarters here, another Rs.7.50 crore is needed to be raised through donations.

Diagnostic centres

He said the foundation would come up with a network of centres that will also offer diagnostics from blood to cholesterol to sugar levels and also X-rays. “These will be manned by a small workforce and volunteer doctors, and connected to the main centre which will have more sophisticated equipment to work upon,” Dr. Singh added.

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Printable version | Nov 29, 2020 6:30:52 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/even-a-rupee-can-help-fund-its-cause/article6686461.ece

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