KOCHI: Obtaining environmental clearance has become a hurdle in the path of the much-awaited Cochin Cancer Research Centre (CCRC) project. The construction of the new building of CCRC, funded by the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), was slated to begin in January next year. However, environmental clearance has put a sudden halt to the plans. Apparently, it takes almost two years to get green nod for the projects. "There is a two-level committee approval before giving green clearance. At present, the matter is before the appraisal committee.
A meeting of the appraisal committee is slated for Wednesday. Once we (apex committee) get the minutes of the meeting, we will further evaluate the project and proceed with the next steps for clearance. If everything goes as per the plan, the project might be cleared by March 2018," Dr K P Joy, chairman, State Environment Impact Assessment Authority, told Express.
The Justice VR Krishna Iyer Movement, the non-government organisation whose efforts resulted in the establishing of CCRC, has written to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking his intervention in the issue. "The project will benefit lakhs of cancer patients in the state. The centre will end the troubles faced by the patients in travelling from various parts of the state to the RCC for treatment," said Dr N K Sanilkumar, volunteer, Justice VR Krishna Iyer Movement.
"The project must begin as soon as possible. With the appointment of the new director, we are looking towards the development of CCRC into a state-of-theart cancer care facility. If the implementation of the project gets dragged to the next financial year, it will negatively affect the development plans," said Dr P G Balagopal, Superintendent, CCRC.
After the completion of the proposed cancer centre building, the CCRC will start functioning as an in-patient facility with all modern cancer treatments available. As of now, the cancer centre is working as an OP facility with a minimum of 10 patients every day. It is functioning in the old pay ward block of the the Kalamassery Medical College. Collector Mohammed Y Safirulla said all the changes suggested by the appraisal committee during its sitting on December 4 had already been made. "We hope the project will get environmental clearance before next monthend," he said.