BHUBANESWAR: In an unprecedented act of charity and ‘giving back to his soil’, Mindtree co-founder and chairman of Odisha Skill Development Authority Subroto Bagchi along with his wife Susmita Bagchi, the chairperson of Odisha’s Mo School programme, has pledged a whopping Rs 340 crore for establishment of a state-of-the-art cancer hospital and a palliative care centre in Bhubaneswar.
The State Cabinet on Monday approved the proposal for establishment of a cancer hospital and research institute in the Capital city with cutting edge care and evidence-based management of cases along with a global standard palliative care facility.
Sri Shankara Cancer Foundation, a not-for-profit trust from Bengaluru will set up the Bagchi-Sri Shankara Cancer Hospital and Research Centre at Info Valley here. The State government will provide 20 acre land and the Bagchi couple have committed Rs 210 crore for the project.
The cancer hospital, to be operational by January, 2024, will have 250 beds initially. It will be expanded later on to a 500 bed hospital. While 25 per cent beds in the cancer hospital will be set aside for free treatment, another 25 per cent beds will be kept for patients supported under different government health schemes. The rest 50 per cent beds will be paid ones. The revenue generated will be utilised for expansion and supporting the poor patients.
Karunashraya, the Bengaluru based palliative care organisation, will set up Bagchi-Karunashraya Palliative Care Centre near the cancer hospital. The State government will also provide 20 acre land for the project, which entails investment of Rs 130 crore by the Bagchis.
This is not for the first time that the couple has donated generously for different charity initiatives in Odisha. They had donated Rs 10 crore to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund (CMRF) in two phases for Covid-19 management in the State last year.
Speaking on behalf of the couple, Susmita said that people who have resources in countries like India must come forward to get more directly involved in public health matters. “It is our moral duty. Both Subroto and I are deeply grateful to the government of Odisha for accepting our contribution. It is a small gesture to pay back to our home State,” she said.
Expressing enthusiasm for the project, Subroto said,” Susmita and I will donate Rs 340 crore to bring Karunashraya to set up a world class palliative care unit and Sri Shankara Foundation for a cutting-edge cancer hospital.” He thanked the Chief Minister for the vision and support and expressed hope that Odisha will soon emerge as a leading oncology player in India.
The gracious act of philantrophy by the couple drew enormous appreciation from all quarters and even cutting across party lines. Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan spoke to them and thanked them for the noble gesture. “The benevolent couple donated Rs 340 crore to set-up a cancer hospital and palliative care centre at Bhubaneswar. They have added another glorious chapter to the rich legacy of legendary Utkal Mani Gopabandhu Das and Baimundi. I pray to Mahaprabhu Jagannath to bless the generous couple and keep inspiring fellow Odias,” he tweeted.