The nearly hundred-year-old Parsi General Hospital in Surat is all set to be renovated and revived by Tata Trusts, after Ratan Tata, chairman emeritus of Tata Sons, accepted the request of the Parsi community in the city for funds to renovate and expand the medical facility which has fallen into neglect. Two days ago, a team from Tata Trusts visited Surat to examine the state of the charitable hospital.
The Seth Rustamji Dhanjibhai Tarachand Parsi General Hospital, located in the centre of the city in Shahpore area, was started in 1920. The general hospital, which will celebrate its centenary next year, currently has just a single doctor and seven nursing staff. Patients of the Parsi-dominated area coming to the 20-bed hospital, run by the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board trust, have dwindled over the years. Except a few senior citizens who come for regular treatment, most people in the area prefer to go to private hospitals with better facilities.
However, the hospital has potential for expansion, standing on a built up area of around 53,000 square feet.
Parsi youth Roman Ilaviya, who is deputy mamlatdar in Surat district collectorate, took up the initiative to revive the hospital, after hearing a lot about the old times when the hospital had been running full swing. A resident of Shahpore, where the hospital is located, Ilaviya wanted to do something, seeing the poor condition of the hospital.
Ilaviya spoke with the Surat Parsi Panchayat Boart trust that runs the hospital and discussed the need to redevelop the hospital. He also wrote an email to Ratan Tata on May 8, 2018, in which he requested funds and even suggested that Tata Trusts take over the hospital and turn it into a professionally-run multi-specialty hospital with an intensive care unit. He wrote about the plight of old and poor Parsi families who cannot afford expensive medical treatment and had to depend on the hospital, which was not in a state of proper functioning owing to unavailability of funds.
On May 18, 2018, Ilaviya received a reply from the office of Ratan Tata, saying the request had been forwarded to the business leader and philanthropist.
Since, then the office of Ratan Tata has been in regular touch with Ilaviya, and an expert agency was hired to prepare a detailed project report. Representatives of the agency visited the Surat hospital and submitted the report to Ratan Tata’s office in December 2018.
Later, president of the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board Jamshed Dotiwala, one of the trustees of the hospital, also met officials of the Tata Trusts’ office in Mumbai personally with regard to the redevelopment of the hospital.
The joint efforts of Ilaviya and the Parsi trust received a positive response from Tata Trusts office. This week, Farokh Subedar, CEO of Tata Trusts, visited Surat and held a meeting with Roman Ilaviya and members of the Surat Parsi Panchayat Board to discuss the project. Subedar also visited the hospital and gave his suggestions to the trust.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Ilaviya said, “Farokh Subedar gave a positive response about the project and he assured us that he will discuss it with the people concerned in Mumbai and personally recommend the sanction of funds for revival of the hospital at the earliest.”
Dotiwala said, “We are happy that our proposal for the revival of the hospital has received a positive response from Ratan Tata.” He added that while they had sought support to upgrade the hospital, “if they (Tata Trusts) want to run the hospital, we have no objection.”
The upgraded hospital will be a 100-bed, multispeciality facility with two new buildings housing ICU wards, laboratory and other medical facilities, he added, saying that its overall cost is expected to be Rs 115 crore.
“As soon as the project is approved and funds are allotted, the renovation work will begin.” said Dotiwala, adding that the construction is expected to be completed in about two years. “As soon as the project is approved and funds are allotted, the renovation work will begin.”
Roman Ilaviya said, “Next year, we are celebrating the centenary of Parsi General Hospital and we will also extend an invitation to Ratan Tata.”
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