KOCHI: Hibi Eden MLA has written to Minister T M Thomas Isaac urging the Finance Department to allocate Rs 1.4 crore from the Health Department for ensuring the release of the imported Linear Accelerator held up at the Kochi port.The state-of-the-art accelerator has been brought in for use at the General Hospital here.
Linear accelerator is a device commonly used for external beam radiation treatment for cancer patients.
“News about the installation of the device was a soothing one for cancer patients belonging to financially weaker section. The fund to procure the machine was mobilised through contributions by Rajya Sabha MPs from different parts of the country and CSR funds of public and private sector companies,” the MLA said in the letter.
“The imported machine has reached the port. We can get it released only on payment of `1.46 crore as GST. It will be a great relief for the patients if the Health Department allocates the required amount for paying tax,” the MLA said.
While placing the purchase order, the machine’s import tax was calculated at 5 per cent. Now under the GST, the hospital authorities have been asked to pay 20 per cent of the cost of the machine.
More than 2,000 cancer patients from five neighbouring districts of Ernakulam depend on the General Hospital for affordable treatment. It was former MP P Rajeev who initiated steps to install the machine at the hospital. Contributions from MP Funds of B Jayashree, Mrinal Miri, H K Dua, Ashok S Ganguly, K T S Tulsi, K Parasaran and C P Narayanan were used to mobilise `7 crore to acquire the machine.
The hospital also got an additional `2.7 crore from the CSR funds of companies like Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd, Cochin Refinery and Synthite to set up the special building to install and operate the machine.