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National Institute of Siddha a milestone in health care

K. Manikandan

It will focus on research and development, postgraduate education



HOLISTIC MEDICAL CARE: The National Institute of Siddha, which will be inaugurated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at Tambaram Sanatorium in Chennai on September 3. — Photo : K.MANIKANDAN

TAMBARAM: : When Prime Minister Manmohan Singh dedicates the National Institute of Siddha, Tambaram Sanatorium, to the nation on September 3, it will mark a milestone in the history of health care in Tamil Nadu, particularly in alternative medicine.

The institute will focus on research and development of the Siddha system and postgraduate education. Established jointly by the Centre and State, it aims at providing holistic medical care and promoting and propagating "science and art of Siddha", according to official sources.

The institute started treating outpatients in October last year when 615 people were treated. The number grew and, in July this year, 16,558 outpatients were treated. The 120-bed hospital will soon throw open its doors to patients with chronic ailments.

Some of the unique features of the institute set up on 14.7 acres are a sewage treatment plant that will supply 20,000 litres of purified water every day and a solar pond to produce hot water. There are plans to plant saplings of medicinal trees and herbs, besides building a yoga hall, a green house and a drug laboratory.

The institute will offer courses at the postgraduate level with five seats each in the following specialisations: Siddha maruthuvam — pothu (general medicine); gunapadam (pharmacology); sirappu maruthuvam (special medicine); pillaippini maruthuvam (paediatrics); noi nadal (pathology) and nanju nool (toxicology).

It will have a total of 202 staff members, including a 17-member faculty.

Of the project cost of Rs. 47 crores, the capital cost of Rs. 36 crores was shared by the Centre and State on a 60-40 basis. Of the remaining Rs. 11 crores, the Centre chipped in with 75 per cent with the rest borne by the State.

The Centre was considering such a project since the Seventh Plan. The foundation was laid in 1999.

It was cleared in January 2002 and work started a year later. The Hospital Services Consultancy and Construction, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, was the architect and the buildings were constructed by the Central Public Works Department.

Land was purchased for Rs. 6 crores, the building constructed at a cost Rs. 20 crores and the remaining amount of the capital cost spent on equipment and appointment of staff. The buildings have a total floor space of 14, 242 square metres.

To be named after

Tamil scholar

The National Institute of Siddha will be named after Pandithar Iyothee Thass, a Tamil scholar.

Union Minister of Health Anbumani Ramadoss decided to name the Institute so after considering the representations from several political parties.

Research on the internet reveals that Pandithar Iyothee Thass was a Tamil scholar who started a weekly newsmagazine, Oru Paisa Tamizhan from Chennai in 1907.

Born into a Dalit family, he is said to have founded the Indian Buddhist Association in 1890.

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