The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Expansion dose for healthcare
- Private hospitals pump in Rs 200 crore for upgrade

With state-run hospitals struggling to stay on their feet, some private healthcare units are gearing up for a major expansion leap, with investments adding up to no less than Rs 200 crore.

On the heels of Apollo Gleneagles Hospital signalling its intentions to raise the bar for healthcare in the city, existing private players, led by Wockhardt, Belle Vue Clinic and AMRI hospital have decided to unveil mega medicare plans, many in uncharted territory for them.

If Wockhardt, with proven expertise in urology, has decided to make forays into cardiology and orthopaedics, Belle Vue is devoting 50 per cent of its upcoming multi-storeyed building to ophthalmology.

On the other hand, AMRI is planning to set up eastern India’s “finest advanced oncology centre”. All three projects are likely to be ready “by early 2005”.

Other centres, like Peerless Hospital and B.K. Roy Research Institute and Anandalok hospital, are also ready to pump in a few crores to upgrade facilities.

The biggest healthcare project undertaken in Calcutta after the formal inauguration of the Apollo Gleneagles Hospital is Wockhardt’s dream project, in the form of a Rs 100-crore quadruple of super-speciality hospitals in south Calcutta. That, too, in two years time.

The 250-bed units will be set up on a two-acre plot near the EM Bypass-Rashbehari Avenue connector junction. Rupali Basu, general manager of Wockhardt hospital, said cardiology, orthopaedics, neurology, and gastro-enterology facilities will be set up, along with those for radiology and pathology.

Belle Vue is setting up a new Rs 30-crore, multi-speciality, six-storey hospital over 75,000 sq ft of space, with half the area devoted to eyecare.

“We have signed an MoU with the Madurai-based Arvind Eye Hospital for sharing expertise in eyecare. We believe that Calcutta requires a high-quality ophthalmology centre,” said P. Tondon of Belle Vue.

The new hospital, according to Tondon, will be commissioned by March 2005 adjoining the existing one on Loudon Street.

AMRI, which has a tie-up with the Apollo group, is setting up a new hospital unit at an estimated cost of Rs 50 crore, after overcoming initial hiccups that threatened to stall the project.

The multi-storey institution will focus on oncology, neurology and orthopaedics, with NRI doctors playing a vital part.

“We have spoken to many such doctors who have agreed to return to their roots,” said S. Upadhayay, vice-president of the hospital, adding that a tie-up has also been finalised with a university in Louisiana, USA.

There is action at Peerless Hospital and B.K. Roy Research Institute as well. “We are setting up the most advanced cath lab in eastern India. The entire cardiac unit is being upgraded,” said Rupak Barua of Peerless. An advanced oncology unit is on the cards, too.

Also in expansion mode is Salt Lake’s Anandalok, with Rs 3 crore being spent on a cardiac-care unit near Tollygunge.

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