Dr. Cherian moves HC, says red tapism is hitting research

Dr. Cherian moves HC, says red tapism is hitting research

Mohamed Imranullah S.
CHENNAI 25 AUGUST 2020 00:45 IST
UPDATED: 25 AUGUST 2020 00:45 IST

Heart surgeon seeks direction to lay down clear guidelines
Renowned heart surgeon K.M. Cherian has filed a public interest litigation (PIL) petition in the Madras High Court expressing deep anguish over numerous obstacles faced by scientists across the country due to lack of farsighted government policies for the promotion of medical research by eliminating red tapism, providing government funds and easing norms for obtaining as well as repaying bank loans.

His petition has been listed before Justices M.M. Sundresh and R. Hemalatha on Tuesday. In his affidavit, Dr. Cherian said that after his postgraduate studies and training in the field of cardiac surgery in Australia and New Zealand, he returned to India in 1975 to serve his country, despite having had offers from the United States and Australia. He joined the Indian Medical Railway Service for a monthly salary of ₹1,070.

Thereafter, he went on to serve different institutions in the country and played a pivotal role in putting India in the forefront of open heart surgeries in Asia.


He had many firsts to his credit. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1991 and was a honorary surgeon to the President between 2002 and 2004. He was the only Indian member of American Thoracic Society since 2002 and the first Indian to become president of World Society of Cardiac Thoracic Surgeons in 2010.

He founded Frontier Mediville, the country’s first medical science research park, at Elavur village near Gummidipoondi in Tiruvallur district, on 360 acres of land allotted during the stint of former Chief Minister Jayalalithaa. The park was promoted by Frontier Lifeline Hospital as well as Dr.K.M. Cherian Heart Foundation and all earnest efforts were taken to promote it as a world class facility. However, efforts could not fructify due to lack of government support, he said.

Lack of support

Delay in getting approvals from government authorities and rigidity of banks which treat medical research facilities like commercial establishments were the reasons for the failure, he said.

“Heart surgeries at a cheaper cost can be achieved but there is complete lack of support from the government and other statutory bodies,” the petitioner lamented and stated to have brought this to the notice of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a personal meeting on June 25, 2015.

The PM, in turn, asked the petitioner to approach the chairman of NITI Aayog and accordingly a meeting was held with the latter on March 21, 2018.

The minutes of the meeting, along with the recommendations, were forwarded to various government bodies but “till date no action was taken by any of the respondents to redress the grievances/hurdles faced by the petitioner or the entire research,” Dr. Cherian said and sought a direction to lay down clear guidelines to aid medical research.

The surgeon insisted upon the court’s intervention in the matter so that at least in the future, the young scientists in the country do not end up facing all the difficulties that he had to face despite having so many achievements to his credit.

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