Establishment of Cancer centres in JK may face further delay

The Union Health Ministry is yet to release full funds for establishment of advanced cancer centres in Jammu and Kashmir, raising a question mark over their fate and compromising cancer treatment in the state.
Establishment of Cancer centres in JK may face further delay
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The Union Health Ministry is yet to release full funds for establishment of advanced cancer centres in Jammu and Kashmir, raising a question mark over their fate and compromising cancer treatment in the state. 

The announcement for the two proposed cancer centres, one each at SKIIMS Srinagar and Super Specialty Hospital Jammu was made in 2013 by the then Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Ghulam Nabi Azad. As per the Cancer Center Guidelines of National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, CVD and Stroke (NPCDCS), each state cancer institute will have a quantum funding of Rs. 120 crore and for tertiary care cancer center it is Rs. 45 crore.

While, after much delay, first installment of funds for State Cancer Center at SKIMS Soura were released last year, the funds for the Tertiary Care Cancer Centers proposed at Jammu, Udhampur, Kishtwar and Kupwara are yet to come. "Funds for State Cancer Institute Srinagar were released early last year by the Government of India, but the same could not be immediately utilized," sources said, adding "For TCCC, the funds are yet to be released."

"Along with premier institutes at divisional levels, three tertiary cancer centres, one each for Udhampur, Kishtwar and Kupwara at the cost of Rs 45 Crore were also part of the project", sources said.

According to Ashutosh Gupta, Head of the Department (HoD), Radiotherapy Department of Government Medical College and Hospital Jammu, state government had sent the proposal early last year with completion of all formalities "following which the Union Government released Rs 42.70 Crore for the establishment of the hospital in SKIIMS Soura early this year, while the funds for Jammu centre are still awaited."

"Because I was appointed nodal officer for the establishment of the Cancer hospital in Jammu, I sent all the documents to the Union government. Along this, we also sought clearance from the Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) which is a pre-requisite, but they (Centre) have not released any amount till date," Gupta said.

About the three tertiary cancer centres sanctioned for the state, Director Health, Dr B S Pathania said that state government has already submitted the formalities to the centre as required under a MoU signed between the two for establishment of these centres. 

"But after some time the centre sought some more clarifications, which were duly submitted. However the funds for the establishment of centres are yet to be released by the centre."

Director SKIIMS, Dr Showkat Zargar, told Greater Kashmir that the funds for establishment of State Cancer Institute were released to the institute in September last year. "Immediately, civil work was taken up and till this time plinth work for the cancer block has been completed", he added. He further said that the institute has also floated tenders for the procurement of the equipments and the process for the same was going on. 

As per different studies the number of cancer patients in J&K is rising at alarming level.

As per the data of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), the cases of various types of cancer including prostate cancer and related deaths are on the rise in Jammu and Kashmir during the past some years.

In 2011, there were a total of 10688 cancer cases in Jammu and Kashmir and this number increased to 11052 in 2012, 11428 in 2013 and 11815 in 2014.

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