September: The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) and the Tata Trusts today held the groundbreaking ceremony for the construction of a 300-bed, cancer care facility – Sri Venkateswara Institute of Cancer Care & Advanced Research – in Tirupati. The groundbreaking ceremony saw the presence of Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Mr. Ratan N. Tata, Chairman, Tata Trusts, Mr. R K Krishna Kumar, Trustee, Tata Trusts, Mr. R. Venkataramanan, Managing Trustee, Tata Trusts, Mr. Anil Kumar Singhal, Executive Officer of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, and Dr. P. Narayana Murthy, Director, Sri Venkateswara Institute of Cancer Care & Advanced Research.
Following an MoU signed with TTD last year, the Trusts have set up a special purpose vehicle, the Alamelu Charitable Foundation (ACF), for implementing its Cancer Care Initiative to ensure affordable, accessible and high quality treatment and screening for cancer detection. The Sri Venkateswara Institute of Cancer Care & Advanced Research is a facility being setup to bring comprehensive and affordable cancer care closer to the patients. The Center will cater to patients in Chittoor and from surrounding districts in Andhra Pradesh while also attracting radiation therapy referrals from across the country. ACF will design, plan, establish, and operate the Center.
The Center will become operational beginning June 2019 with equipment of international standards. With the objective of reducing patient waiting time to zero, the Center will house 20 Linear Accelerators (LINACs), with this capacity developed in phases. The facility will also be equipped with modern technological systems, integrated care through support services like reconstructive support, palliative care and rehabilitation. The premises will also provide for accommodation for patients and their caregivers in dormitories, in order to reduce the out-of-pocket expenses of those traveling from places across the country.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. N. Chandrababu Naidu, said, “Mr. Tata is one of the most respected human beings in the country. He is always one of the first philanthropists to come forward to help the underprivileged. In this holy place of Tirupati, we are grateful that a hospital of this magnitude is being built. This will be a hub for radiation therapy, holistic care and advanced research on cancer care for everyone in the country. With the help of cancer care experts from the Tata Trusts, Tirupati will be the capital of cancer care in all of south India, connected to the national cancer grid, in turn connecting other smaller centres in and around the region.”
Mr. Ratan N. Tata said, “The Tata Trusts are committed to supporting the efforts for cancer care in the country. Our endeavour is to improve treatment of cancer, to increase survival rates and, perhaps, one day, find a cure from the disease. We are grateful to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for this partnership towards creating a facility that will offer world-class treatment to cancer patients in this region.”
Mr. Anil Kumar Singhal, said, “I would like to thank Shri Chandrababu Naidu for his relentless efforts in developing the state and the city of Tirupati, and Mr. Ratan Tata, the chairman of the most charitable trust in India, the Tata Trusts, for helping in setting up this hospital in the region. We have given the necessary land for the construction of this hospital and I am glad Mr. Tata came forward to set this up. The hospital will help give people the best treatment possible in the region. I pray to Lord Venkateshwara that this project has a speedy and successful roll-out.”
The Tata Trusts have been pioneers in developing cancer care infrastructure since 1942 with the establishment of Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, and the more recently established Tata Medical Center, Kolkata, in 2011. Partnering with various state governments, the Trusts have been working to set up a comprehensive cancer care network. Recently, the Tata Trusts have partnered with the Government of Assam to operationalise 19 upcoming modern cancer care facilities and the Government of Nagaland to develop 5 district hospitals. The Trusts are currently in conversation with various other State Governments, like Odisha and Telangana, for establishing similar networks.