Siddhivinayak Temple – which spends millions every year equipping civic hospitals and paying for poor patients’ medical bills – is now set to run its own hospital. Shree Siddhivinayak Ganapati Temple Trust is tying up with the BMC to run a multi-specialty hospital in the heart of Dadar. The hospital will be built by the BMC on a piece of land on Gokhale Road it owns and then transferred to the Trust. On Monday, both the BMC and the Siddhivinayak Trust confirmed the plan. While Vishakha Raut, a Shiv Sena corporator and a member of the Trust, said the hospital will cater to people from Dadar and Prabhadevi, Municipal Commissioner Ajoy Mehta said the “proposal is being actively considered by the BMC.” Senior Shiv Sena leader Aadesh Bandekar, who also heads the Trust, said the hospital will have five-star facilities, but the charges will be that of a civic hospital. The plot on Gokhale Road is reserved for a maternity and diagnostic center. However, civic officials, who did not wish to be quoted, said the municipal corporation would have no problem if the Trust ran a full-fledged hospital.
While civic officials refused to commit to any timelines, sources said work on the hospital will begin in two months. Siddhivinayak temple gets around 40,000 visitors every day on an average. The numbers go up three times on Sundays, Tuesdays and national holidays. The Trust receives over Rs 90 crore in donations every year, a large part of which is spent on philanthropic activities. On an average, the Trust spends Rs 12 crore on medical assistance of poor patients. BMC sources said that while the temple wanted a cross-subsidizing model for the hospital – reserving some beds for rich patients to pay for the treatment of those who can’t afford to pay – the civic administration insisted that the hospital must be run like a civic hospital. Though architectural plans have not been finalized yet, the hospital will be housed in an eight-storey building with 45,000 sq ft area available to accommodate various specialties, an out-patient department, and a dialysis center. The Trust already runs a dialysis facility with 22 machines and charges a mere Rs 250 per patient. – Mumbai Mirror