Jammu and Kashmir is to get its first cancer hospital with Governor Lt. Gen (retd) S.K. Sinha Monday laying the foundation stone of the Rs.2.5 billion 700-bed facility.
The Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Institute of Medical Excellence is being built at Kakrial near the Hindu holy township of Katra, about 50 km north of this Kashmir winter capital.
The institute, which will be gradually upgraded into a medical college offering graduate and post-graduate courses, is being built without funding from the government.
'However, we will welcome donations,' Sinha stated, adding: 'This project is taking shape with the blessings of Mata (Vaishno Devi) and the cooperation of people.'
A target of 15-18 months has been set for completing the first phase of the project at a cost of Rs.420 million. To begin with, it will have 200 beds, while in the second phase 500 beds would be added as the institute evolves into a high tech facility of medical excellence offering super specialty care in areas like trauma control, gynaecology, ophthalmology and ENT.
'Besides offering the most modern allopathic treatment, the hospital will make efforts to educate the general public about the causes of cancer,' Sinha said.
'The institute would cater to the needs of Jammu and Kashmir and adjoining regions and provide services at par with global standards,' Sinha maintained, adding it would provide high quality services free for the poor and at affordable cost for others.