Fortis Health Care Limited has submitted a detailed plan to the Punjab government to set up a Cancer Institute and Research Centre on a plot close to the company’s hospital in Mohali. The plot measuring 4.88 acres was allotted to Fortis in July, 2001 to construct a super specialty hospital. The detailed plan, submitted to the government, envisages a 250-bed hospital duly linked to the Civil Hospital in Bathinda to supplement the OPD services and the medical and surgical management of cancer patients. A high rate of cancer in the Malwa region and the absence of proper treatment facilities force people to go to charitable hospitals in Rajasthan. “It would be inappropriate to divulge anything right now. Fortis has its base in Punjab and we are seriously concerned about the welfare of the people. As a company in the business of health care, we consider it imperative to provide the best possible medical aid to the people,” said the official spokesperson of Fortis Health Care Ltd. The project requires an initial investment of Rs 117.55 crore (no land cost included here) and needs a formal clearance from the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC). The company is hopeful about starting the first phase of the hospital by the end of 2009. The proposed hospital shall include several facets of cancer treatment viz. tumour chemotherapy, haematological oncology, surgical oncology, radiation oncology, physiotherapy and rehabilitation. The need for a cancer hospital in the north Indian states has been felt for long. As of now, the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER) is the only major cancer institution in the region, which is akin to a Regional Centre for Referral care. India has 24 Regional Cancer Centres as identified by the Ministry of Health. While other parts in the country have some well-known cancer hospitals like Tata Memorial (Mumbai), Cancer Hospital in Adyar (Chennai) and Kidwai Institute (Bangalore), the northern states lack an institute of such eminence. Cancer is a major cause of death in India. Around 8 lakh new cases are registered every year, accounting for 9.5 per cent of all the reported deaths.