Cardiothoracic surgeon Dr KM Cherian moves Madras HC against red-tapism; asks for proper research fund guidelines
Tamil Nadu: Taking cognizance of the anguish of medical researchers all over the country, renowned cardiothoracic surgeon Padmashri Dr K M Cherian has filed a PIL in the Madras High court seeking to direct the Central Government and concerned authorities to improve their guidelines regarding research.
Dr Cherian has shed light on several problems with scientific research in the country and demanded the elimination of red-tapism and urged the government to implement proper guidelines regarding the research funds.
As per recent media accounts, the plea has been moved against various government departments and regulatory bodies including Prime Minister Office (PMO), Niti Ayog, and Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
This came after the heart surgeon was promoting Lifeline hospital in Chennai in order to make it a distinguished facility. However, the facility had to face liquidation as it failed to pay the due of over rupees 150 crores from November 2017. The institution has to face a severe economic crisis and was pressurized to pay back the loan. Hence, the research work has to be suspended.
In June 2005, Dr Cherian himself met PM Narendra Modi who suggested him contact Niti Ayog chairman.
Accordingly, a meeting was held in 2018; however, even after appealing to several government departments, he failed to secure a proper response or remedy from them after which he turned to High Court with the issue.
According to a recent media report in The Hindu, "till date no action was taken by any of the respondents to redress the grievances/hurdles faced by the petitioner or the entire research," the petitioner stated.
He further added that "Heart surgeries at a cheaper cost can be achieved but there is complete lack of support from the government and other statutory bodies."
He submitted that due to the lack of proper guidelines and often lack of support from the authorities, many of the precious research receives major feedback. He urged the government to form guidelines allowing several institutions to repay loans after at least 8 to 10 years from the disbursement of the loan.
He also stated that many research for projects in India had to face problems as they often fail to secure proper cooperation or patent for their work from the authorities concerned. The bank authorities should not treat medical loans as industrial loans and must not commercialize the scientific research field, he added.
Commenting on the problems of private medical researchers, he told The News Minute, "while government institutions like the ICMR do not face many hardships in continuing with their research, the private medical research entities are being pushed to the wall in case of financial distress, and they are having to face the threat of having to give up their research endeavours despite showing immense promise in coming up with viable, marketable, good quality and significantly less expensive medical device products for the country."
The court has been adjourned till the next hearing.