■ ICCU 5: Tapas Paul, MP
■ Suite A: Madan Mitra, minister
Belle Vue Clinic has become the ruling Trinamul Congress’s unofficial recovery room, and not just because it offers private suites with a view that any doctor would recommend.
Be it a minister, an MLA or an MP, anyone who is someone in Trinamul prefers the Loudon Street hospital apparently because chief minister Mamata Banerjee’s most trusted physician is associated with it.
Critical care expert Subrata Maitra has treated finance minister Amit Mitra, urban development minister Firhad Hakim, mayor Sovan Chatterjee, minister of state for cooperation Jyotirmoy Kar and MP Abhishek Banerjee on Mamata’s recommendation.
“Whenever the chief minister refers a minister or MP to us for hospitalisation, she invariably texts or makes a call to Maitra in the evening for a medical update,” an official at Belle Vue said.
|destination belle vue and rooms with a view
|Belle Vue Clinic, overlooking Minto Park, is the choice of several Trinamul leaders. Picture by Bishwarup Dutta
Maitra said some of the political heavyweights he had treated over the years were old acquaintances. “A few were, of course, referred by the chief minister. The others have been my patients for long,” he told Metro.
Mamata herself has undergone treatment at Belle Vue more than twice, the last time in April 2013 when she was taken ill in Delhi after facing an agitation by SFI supporters.
The chief minister, who had then been hospitalised with joint pain, low blood pressure and breathlessness, stayed in one of the eight private suites of the hospital. The well-appointed 400sqft space on the third floor was turned into a temporary CMO for the duration of Mamata’s stay, hospital sources recalled.
The view of a leafy expanse of Minto Park along with a water body is for many Trinamul VIPs an add-on when choosing Belle Vue for themselves, family members or relatives.
Transport minister Madan Mitra, who is recuperating from severe lung congestion and respiratory distress in Suite A on the sixth floor, is likely to remain there for another three to four days although his condition has improved, doctors said.
“I love the view of Minto Park and the water body. The hospital is centrally located and I am an old patient of Maitra. He has been treating me for more than 10 years, even when he was attached to another private hospital. I have become used to the ambience of this hospital,” said Mitra, who has been admitted to Belle Vue “eight to 10 times”.
The transport minister’s suite has an adjoining chamber for family members or relatives. Lok Sabha MP Tapas Paul is in a small cubicle on the floor above that houses the ICCU. He is recuperating from a cerebral stroke.
This is the second time that Paul, who represents Krishnagar in Parliament, has been admitted to Belle Vue since his “rape-and-shoot” speech triggered a national uproar two months ago. His doctor, Suddha Kalyan Paul, is a senior consultant with the hospital.
Paul is in ICCU 5, beside the cubicle where Satyajit Ray had been admitted and from where he gave his Oscar acceptance speech in 1992.
Mayor Chatterjee’s association with Belle Vue started in 2004 when his wife was pregnant with their daughter. Her condition had apparently turned critical but the complications were quickly managed.
“I was scared seeing her condition. Thankfully, everything went off well. Now, whenever there is a medical emergency in our family and I am away, I make one phone call and I can be sure that everything will be smoothly managed,” the mayor said.
For minister Bratya Basu, his relationship with critical care expert Maitra makes him visit Belle Vue. “I have known him for long,” he said.
During Left rule, some of the top CPM leaders had their preferred private hospitals. Former chief minister Jyoti Basu’s favourite was AMRI Salt Lake, as was ex-transport minister Subhas Chakraborty’s.
“The party’s closeness to Shravan Todi, one of the promoters of the hospital, was one of the reasons for their choosing AMRI,” a source said.
In 2006, CPM leader Anil Biswas was rushed to Woodlands after a cerebral stroke from which he didn’t recover.
At Belle Vue, officials are at pains to explain that the steady stream of Trinamul leaders has little to do with any political connection. “Raj Bhavan has had an understanding with us for more than 16 years, because of which any governor who is taken ill gets admitted here for treatment,” said Pradip Tondon, CEO of Belle Vue.
He said Belle Vue was among the few hospitals in the city to receive a letter from the Centre to keep a room and at least two units of blood ready during any visit by the President or some other VVIP.