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Sunday, September 30, 2001

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A godsend for patients' escorts

By Our Special Correspondent

BANGALORE, SEPT. 29. Victoria Hospital, the largest general hospital in Bangalore, and one of the biggest in Asia, has an additional facility now. A four- storeyed, 36,000-sq. ft. dharmashala for attendants and families of patients, built at a cost of Rs. 2.25 crores, was inaugurated in the hospital premises on Saturday.

The Union Urban Development Minister, Mr. Ananth Kumar, said he was prepared to help from the funds given to him as an MP to have a similar facility at K.C.General Hospital. For the Victoria Hospital facility too, MPs, including himself, Mr. C.K.Jaffer Shariff, Mr. Ramakrishna Hegde and Mr. Oscar Fernanded had contributed from their share. The contributions from funds allocated to MPs were ``your own money'', he told the gathering.

Mr. Ananth Kumar also commended the efforts of Mr. B.L.S.Murthy, President of the Dharmashala Committee, who raised Rs. 1.55 crores through public contributions for the building and its facilities. This would especially help the families of poor patients coming to the hospital from the nearby villages.

Dr. A.B.Maalakaraddi, Minister for Health and Family Welfare, said the presence of those close to them was as important as medical care was for the quick recovery of patients. For the attendants and relatives of hundreds of poor patients coming from outside Bangalore, it was difficult to find an economical and safe palce to stay, which was also close to the hospital. The new dormitory and guest-house facility named Sri Venkateshwara Basaiah Lakshminarayan Combined Hospitals Dharmashala would meet this need.

The dharmashala will serve the needs of four major government hospitals, Victoria, Vanivilas, Minto Eye Hospital and Jayadeva Institute of Cardiology. The building has four large and four small dormitories for men and women, 32 ordinary rooms, 24 bath- attached rooms, two kitchens, two dining halls and a wash bay. There is a lift for the elderly. Each room has been provided with cots, tables, chairs and a cooking platform and the building has been planned to accommoate 400 to 450 people at a time. A nominal fee will be charged for its maintenance.

The project was initiated six years ago with the then Chief Minister, Mr. Veerappa Moily, and the Dharmadhikari of Dharmasthala, Mr. Veerendra Heggade, as Chief Patrons with Mr B.L.S.Murthy heading the committee.

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