GUWAHATI, June 18 - Noting that the North East has one of the highest incidences of cancer, chairman of Tata Trusts Ratan Tata today lauded the efforts of both the Central and State governments to address the situation which, he said, was akin to fighting a war.
Addressing the ground breaking ceremony of 19 cancer care centres to be set up as part of the inclusive cancer care programme launched by Assam Cancer Care Foundation � a joint venture between Government of Assam and Tata Trusts here, Tata said cancer is a silent killer and has killed more people than any other disease.
�Cancer can strike anyone. It does not differentiate between a male and a female, a rich or a poor. It is very laudable that both the Centre and State government have come forward to address the situation as if we are fighting a war. I hope what we have started will give the future generation suitable treatment and greater survivability and the disease may also be curable in distant future,� he added.
Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said that a corpus of Rs 1,910 crore has been created under Assam Cancer Care Foundation to set up three different layers of hospitals for cancer patients in 19 districts of the State. As part of the agreement, Tata Trusts will contribute nearly Rs 900 crore, while the State government will provide a grant of Rs 1,080 crore, he informed. Central government has committed another Rs 180 crore in addition to the corpus fund, he added.
He assured that the centres would be functional within 24 months.
Sarma said treatment for beneficiaries of �Atal Amrit Abhiyan� will be free in the 19 centres.
Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal said the 19 cancer care centres will revolutionise the whole cancer management and patients would be able to avail quality treatment without going outside the State.
�It will be the social responsibility of the people to ensure that the centres function well,� he said.
The Chief Minister also thanked the chairman of Tata Trusts Ratan Tata for fulfilling the commitment of extending cooperation in setting up 19 hospitals as part of the three tier cancer care programme in the State.
Rajya Sabha MP Amit Shah, who also spoke in the programme, acknowledged the crucial role played by Tata Trusts with their philanthropic activities in bolstering public health sector in different parts of the country for so many years.
Shah appreciated the role of Tata Trusts, pointing that the Tata Group has been involved with social causes since pre-Independence days and long before the concept of Corporate Social Responsibility was floated and laws enacted.