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Tonic for health hub
- Salim okays 100-hospital infrastructure

A hundred hospitals with 500 beds each, all served by integrated infrastructure covering 800 acres ' the Bengal Health City big plans are beginning to take shape.

The government and the Association of Hospitals of Eastern India ' a group of 12 leading private hospitals ' have announced that the Health City proposal has been okayed by the Salim Group.

'The chief minister has conveyed to us that our Health City project has been accepted by the Salim Group and work to develop the land will be taken up once the final discussions to be held in the city are over,' association president Sajal Dutta told Metro.

There's more good news on the eve of the Salim Group's visit to Calcutta ' three international healthcare players have voiced interest in setting up individual hospitals in the Health City.

'Parkway Holdings of Singapore (promoters of Mount Elizabeth and Raffles hospitals), Bumrungrad Hospital of Thailand and Singhealth Group of Singapore are just waiting for the land to be developed before unveiling their plans,' said Dutta, on his return from Singapore and Bangkok.

Earlier this year, the association had placed before the government a mega Health City project, where the government or a private party was to shoulder infrastructure development. The association and other healthcare groups from various parts of the country and abroad would set up speciality hospitals, the proposal added.

The chief minister included the project in the government's proposed plan to develop over 5,000 acres in the Sonarpur-Baruipur sector and discussed it with the Salim Group during his Indonesia trip.

'The association's proposal was huge and it required a player as big as the Salim Group for development. It's heartening that the project has been cleared in totality,' observed Prabhakar Chatterjee, director of health services.

If things go to plan, the Salim Group would spend around Rs 2,000 crore in developing 800 acres by creating roads, electricity connections, and drainage and sewerage system.

'We have plans to set up about 100 speciality and multi-speciality hospitals in the entire Health City in addition to shopping malls, hotels and banking facilities,' revealed P. Tondon of Belle Vue and a key member of the association.

The association project is based on a report submitted by consultants McKinsey that India would require 750,000 beds by 2012. 'Even if we fill up 50,000 beds, that would add up to just seven per cent of the entire demand,' added Tondon.

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