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Posted by Wes von Papinešu on December 31, 2000 at 13:21:37:
THE HINDU (Chennai, India) 31 December 00 King Institute: State Govt. resents Maneka's suggestion
Chennai: The Tamil Nadu Government today opposed the Union Minister of State for Empowerment and Social Justice, Ms. Maneka Gandhi's suggestion to temporarily shut down the `Anti- Snake Venom Serum' (ASVS) programme at the famous King Institute here.
Responding to the reported remarks of the Union Minister in the wake of the row over the recent deaths of several horses in the King Institute, the State Health Minister, Mr. Arcot N. Veeraswamy said that winding up the ASVS would deprive the people of Tamil Nadu a major supply source of antidote for snake poisioning.
Stating that on an average, nearly 90,000 people suffered from snake bites in Tamil Nadu, Mr. Veeraswamy said in a statement here that it was the ASVS division in the King Institute which was making the antidote. ``Where will people then go for the medicine?'' he asked.
Though Ms. Maneka Gandhi had suggested making the antidote for snake-bites from eggs, that procedure had not become operational yet, said Mr. Veeraswamy.
Ms. Maneka Gandhi's letter to the Tamil Nadu Government had been received only on December 29 due to the postal strike, Mr. Veeraswami said referring to her chiding the State for not replying to the Centre's letter.
If only Ms. Maneka Gandhi had faxed the letter dated December 8 on the King Institute affairs, ``she would have certainly got our reply by now,'' Mr. Veeraswamy said, refuting her allegation in this regard.
As regards the charge of lack of proper maintenance of horses at the King Institute, Mr. Veeraswami said, the Government had probed the death of the horses there very recently. The reason was not due to any pharmacological procedures at the Institute but the `toxicity' in the grass, he explained.
The funds spent for the various programmes in the King Institute were being systematically audited, he said, adding, it was unfortunate that Ms. Maneka Gandhi should needlessly blame the Tamil Nadu Government for this development.
A detailed reply on behalf of the State Government to the points raised by Ms. Maneka Gandhi will also be sent to the Prime Minister, Mr. A. B. Vajpayee, through the DMK Parliamentary party, said Mr. Veeraswamy.