Saturday, April 03, 2010

State plans medical hub near international airport

State plans medical hub near international airport

Bosky Khanna. Bangalore



Bangalore will soon boast of a dedicated medical hub for tourists and domestic hi-fliers. The state government is planning to develop the hub near the Bengaluru International Airport (BIA) in Devanahalli, as part of its initiative to make the city one of the preferred destinations for medical tourism in the world.
The Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) will develop the hub, as per its 10-year tourism master plan, in coordination with city-based private hospitals, and Ayurvedic and naturopathy centres.
The hub would be come up on 300 acres of land, a senior official of the KSTDC said. "The government is acquiring 12,000 acres of land to develop the area near the airport, and the medical hub will occupy 300 acres of this land," he said. "Private hospitals, diagnostic centres, Ayurvedic resorts and centres offering alternative systems of medicine will function in the hub," he said, not wanting to be named.
He said a project report was being prepared and tenders would soon be called for. "The hub will be developed under public-private partnership," he said. The official said another hub would come up in Mysore on 400 acres of land.
People from across the globe, including the US, Europe, Pakistan, Germany, Iraq, Afghanistan and African countries, came to Bangalore for treatment. Patients flying into the city would be treated in the lap of nature, the KSTDC official said.
Ayurvedic resorts would be set up to tap tourists heading for Kerala for naturopathy and Ayurvedic treatment, Dr Issac Mathai, medical director of Soukya International's Holistic Health Centre, said. Issac is working with the KSTDC to develop the medical hub. The resorts would have about 200 beds.
"The hub will have genuine medical institutions, and treatment will be given by trained and certified professionals. Naturopathy and yoga will also be part of the hub," he said.
Issac said Devanahalli was chosen for the hub, since it would have been difficult to get a vast tract of land in the city. Moreover, international clients would not want to travel for over 45 minutes from the airport to reach the hub. The government was trying to invite foreign investors to set up hospitals and infrastructure at the hub, he said.
Many private hospitals are already involved in projects to tap the potential in medical tourism. Vasuki KS, general manager of Narayana Hrudayalaya, said the institution was setting up a hospital on 35 acres of land allotted to it by the Karnataka Industrial Areas Development Board near the BIA. The project was not part of the medical hub. But if the KSTDC approached the Hrudayalaya for cooperation in the medical hub, the hospital would lend all its help, he said. "The new hospital near BIA is likely to be ready in three years," Vasuki said. He said foreign patients from 55 countries came to Narayana Hrudayalaya. The hospital did not have different tariffs for Indian and foreign patients, Vasuki said. "But in the new hospital, we will have different rates."
The Apollo Hospital is also planning to set up a health care centre near the BIA. "We have sought 15 acres of land," chief executive officer Dr Umapathy Panyala said.

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