Chettinad in the southern part of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu is known for its cuisine hot on the tongue. The country's Finance Minister P.Chidambaram also hails from this region.
Now it will have one more reason to boast of. The construction major, the Chettinad Group, is in the process of setting up a health city in the state capital.
Conceived three years ago, the integrated tertiary referral Chettinad Health City (CHC) in Chennai will house all super-specialities, under a single roof, in phase three. "Though we are still in the investment phase, we are on-time as far as the project is concerned. We expect to complete the phase III by 2009, when we propose to have all super specialities and 1,000 beds for healthcare delivery," CHC chief administrator N Venkat Phanidar told Economic Times on Saturday.
Promoted by the Rajah Sir Muthiah Chettiar Charitable and Educational Trust, Rs 250 crore investment has already been made into CHC. "We are still in the investment phase. Rather than tapping the boom in sectors like real estate and IT, our objective is to invest on a social asset. We also intend extending our facility to cover research and development and manufacturing activities, after meeting statutory compliance," he said.
The idea is to be self-reliant in health care, as health care products like stents, are still import-driven. "We want to invest on knowledge and skills and nurture talent in health specialities," he added.
Spanning an area of 100 acres, already an area of 12 lakh sq ft of construction has been completed. "CHC is replete with all the modern facilities. It houses a 600-bed hospital, a medical college and residential accommodation facility apart from outpatient amenities," Mr Phanidar said. On the equipment side, Rs 40 crore has been invested, inclusive of the Rs 25 crore plus investment on cardiology department.
"CHC has three centres of excellence, institute of cardio-vascular diseases, institute of IVF and nephrology. We would like to improvise in phase II, where we propose to bring in specialities like cosmetics, neuroscience, ortho and ophthalmology. At a later stage, we would also like to bring in cancer speciality too," he said
Of the 256 full-time doctors on CHC rolls, women constitute 40%. NRI-returned Dr R Ravi Kumar will spearhead the institute of cardiovascular disease.
Asked about the medical costs, Mr Phanidar said "our pricing will be competitive. Typically, our overall surgery costs will be 25% cheaper than those charged by hospitals in our category."
A dialysis in CHC will be available for Rs 900, while the prevailing charges are Rs 1,500 outside. A bypass in CHC would mean a saving of at least Rs 30,000, he added.
CHC has a pact with Malaysia-based Master Skill College of Nursing and Health, to train 120 students every two months. It is also negotiating with institutions from European countries and Australia. Its medical college, which has an annual intake of 150 students, is in the second batch, making 300 medicos available to CHC.