Congress in Kerala to take over cochlear implants project

Recognising that this grant would only help 25 hearing-impaired children,  Sudhakaran decided to take it up as the party’s initiative to address the concerns of the remaining affected children. 

Published: 26th July 2023 08:22 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th July 2023 11:10 AM   |  A+A-

cochlear implant devices

For representational image. The State Health Agency (SHA) has recently approved over Rs 59 lakh to upgrade cochlear implantation machines for 25 children.

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: In an effort to preserve the legacy of Congress leader Oommen Chandy, the party leadership has decided to take over ‘Shruthi  Tharangam,’ Chandy’s pet project on cochlear implants. Congress state president K Sudhakaran is expected to announce this decision soon.

Currently, 360 children need upgrades for their cochlear implants, which requires approximately Rs 9 crore. The party leadership plans to raise this amount from party leaders and cadres.   

The Congress leadership alleges that the Left government halted the  ‘Shruthi Tharangam’ project due to a lack of funds and administrative negligence. Chandy had raised this issue with the state government on June 15 while he was hospitalised. Unfortunately, by the time the government sanctioned Rs 59.48 lakh on July 22 for cochlear implant upgrades, Chandy had passed away.   

Recognising that this grant would only help 25 hearing-impaired children,  Sudhakaran decided to take it up as the party’s initiative to address the concerns of the remaining affected children. 

On Sunday,  after visiting one of the hearing-impaired children in Kochi, Sudhakaran announced that the party would support 50 children in the first phase. Subsequently, senior leaders of the state leadership felt that the issues of the remaining 360 children should also be addressed.    

“We need Rs 2.35 lakh each for cochlear implant upgrades, and there are a total of 360 children. We are actively seeking sponsors and like-minded people to donate funds to help these affected children. Sudhakaran will be approaching companies that produce cochlear implant devices to explore the possibility of reducing the cost from Rs 9 crore,” a senior Congress leader told TNIE.   

Cochlear implantation was one of the flagship projects of the Oommen Chandy-led UDF government during 2011-2016. In April 2012, the  first beneficiary, Biyanka, received a fresh lease of ‘sound’ when the ‘Shruthi Tharangam’ project was initiated to provide aid to hearing-impaired children from economically disadvantaged families.  

ALSO READ | Chandy’s Cochlear Implant Scheme hits hurdles, parents seek government help 

A cochlear implant is a surgically implanted electronic device that provides a sense of sound to a person. The idea was initially proposed by singer Yesudas, who contributed Rs 1 lakh.

 The UDF  government then took the initiative to provide hearing ability to select children below three years of age under the State Social  Justice department. 

Although Chandy initially hoped to include only 100 children under the ‘Shruthi Tharangam,’ its success extended to benefitting 640 children, as revealed during an election campaign in 2016.    

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