The state government of Assam said that it will confer renowned industrialist Ratan Tata with the 'Asom Bhaibav' award, the highest civilian state award for his contribution to cancer care facilities in the state. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, announced the award in Delhi on the occasion of Assam Divas on Thursday, December 2.
"Delighted to announce that the Government of Assam has decided to confer its highest civilian award, Asom Baibhav, to Ratan Tata, Chairman of Tata Trusts, for his exceptional contribution towards furthering cancer care in Assam," the CM tweeted.
Cancer Care Network Of 19 Facilities
In 2018, the state government and Tata Trusts laid the foundation stone for a comprehensive cancer care network of 19 facilities. The operation was estimated to become functional by 2019. It was initiated to ensure that no citizen of Assam has to travel more than a few hours to get proper cancer care treatments. Out of the 19 facilities, 12 were established on premises of Government Medical College, ensuring an affordable treatment, News18 reported.
The Assam government has health care among the top priorities. When the foundation was laid, Sarma was appointed as the State Health Minister, and the state government was led by the current Union Minister of Ports, Shipping, and Waterways and Minister of AYUSH, Sarbananda Sonowal.
Other schemes like State Cancer Institute, Atal Amrit Abhiyan, and free diagnostics at district hospitals had already been in the works. The Tata push to the cancer care facilities helped the government utilize these schemes by providing a solid platform. Similar to the initiative taken for Assam, Tata proposed plans for the states of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, and Odisha.
The project in Assam was a joint effort of Tata Trusts and the now Sarma-led government. The total corpus for the three-tier project – L1: State Level Hospitals, L2: State-level medical colleges, L3: District level hospitals – was Rs 2,200 crore, equally divided among the two parties.
The awards that precede Asom Bhaibhav are Asom Saurav, followed by Asom Gaurav.