TAMIL NADU

Space science will get total support: PM

CHENNAI July 3. The launch of INSAT-3C services by the Prime Minister, A. B. Vajpayee, in Delhi today helped establish connectivity between Sri Ramachandra Medical College and Research Institute (SRMC), Chennai, and G. B. Pant Hospital in Port Blair.

Dedicating the satellite services to the nation, Mr. Vajpayee said such technological capabilities enhanced the country's global role not with military might but by development. Assuring total Governmental support for space science, he said a developing country could not afford to ignore the opportunities it offered for accelerating development. The country's future vision was now centred around developing fourth generation systems and advanced launch vehicles.

The ISRO chairman, K. Kasturirangan, said the objective was to offer the benefits of space technology to grassroots-level applications. The INSAT and IRS systems were being extensively used for communication, broadcasting, meteorological services, disaster warning and natural resources survey and management. The recent telemedicine project linking (via INSAT satellites) speciality hospitals with those in remote areas was for providing the rural segment access to expert medical services. The facility connecting SRMC and the Port Blair hospital would allow exchange of medical information and transfer of radiograph, CT scan, MRI, ultrasound, pathology, endoscopy and video images, besides interviews and consultation.

Participating in the inaugural at Port Blair, the Lieutenant Governor of Andaman and Nicobar, Nagendranath Jha, said more than the ``economic fallout'' of the project (cost of patients being transported to mainland), the psychological burden the patients underwent due to the shift could be minimised.

Though the connectivity was with the G. B. Pant Hospital, he hoped that other community hospitals would also be provided access for the benefit of the island populace.

The SRMC chancellor, V.R. Venkatachalam assured ISRO that the college would make full use of the facility to benefit the G. B. Pant Hospital.

The university Vice-Chancellor, S. Thanickachalam, the cardiology professor, K. R. Balakrishnan, and the telemedicine chairman, K. Selvakumar, discussed the case history of two patients with S. S. Singh of G. B. Hospital.

The medical records of the two patients were furnished "live" to the specialists on the occasion.

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