Sankara Nethralaya launched its second major offensive against vision impairment in the East of India with a sprawling 67,000 Sq ft, 5 storied, State of the art ophthalmic facility at ‘Rajarhat’ the burgeoning satellite ‘New Town’ located at the north of 24 Parganas at the north eastern periphery of the city. The facility would offer world class ophthalmic care to both paying and non-paying patients from the State and neighbouring countries of Bhutan, Bangladesh and Nepal, it would also engage in India centric ophthalmic research and high level knowledge dissemination in the region by way of teaching and training initiatives.
Sankara Nethralaya chose Kolkata as its preferred destination when it chose to expand its services outside of the Southern region back in year 2007, as a mark of its gratitude to the people from the Eastern part of the country who had reposed their faith and confidence in its services right since its inception. Setting up a unit at Kolkata was to save them the time, money and long travel down South, especially in their state of visual impairment. The first unit named Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya had reached its full capacity and hence the need for an additional unit in the region was felt. The Kamalnayan Bajaj Sankara Nethralaya is named in honour of the highly principled businessman, visionary and philanthropist in acknowledgement of the large grant made towards the facility by the Bajaj family. The second Sankara Nethralaya unit in the city of Kolkata was dedicated to the people by the Honourable Chief Minister of the State Ms Mamata Banerjee at a grand inaugural function held at the hospital premises on the 27th of February 2016. The function was graced by Panchayat Minister Shri Subrata Mukherjee, Chief Secretary to the government Shri Basudeb Banerjee, Shri Debhasish Sen, Chairman of the Housing Infrastructure Development Corporation (HIDCO) which had demarcated an area in Rajarhat exclusively as a health block, Ms Minal Bajaj, Honourary Director, Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation, Maj Gen (Retd) Gautam Kar, Head- Infrastructure and administrative Services, L&T and many more friends and well wishers.
Welcoming the Chief Guest, dignitaries and invitees Dr KS.Vasan, Managing Director, Sankara Nethralaya began his talk on an emotional note that the institution’s entry to West Bengal was not just an expansion of its services but an expression of its gratitude and concern to a people who had reposed their utmost faith on it, he had a high word of praise for the Chief Minister of the State who was presiding over the function and her government for the support and assistance which made the Kamalnayan Bajaj Sankara Nethralaya a reality.
A mellifluous rendition of Guruji’s timeless lyrics ‘Anondo Loke, Mongola Loke, Biraja Sotto Sundaro’ seeking universal happiness and peace, by Sankara Nethralaya Kolkata members Ms Mausami Shaw, Ms Mukta Chanda, Ms Gargi Sengupta, Ms Rama Debdas and Ms Shalini Dam gave an auspicious beginning to the function. Underlining the day as a ‘Red Letter Day’ in the annals of Sankara Nethralaya’s Kolkata operations Dr Sujata Guha, Medical Director, Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya gave an absorbing account of how Sankara Nethralaya stood as a great example of Public-Private partnership, she took the opportunity to express the institution’s gratitude to the Bajaj family and all the philanthropic donors whose generous support made the facility a reality, speaking on the occasion Dr Suchetna Mukherjee, Deputy Director, Aditya Birla Sankara Nethralaya, highlighted that the institution set aside a good portion of the revenue generated through paying patients and screened 45-50% of out- patients and performed 30 to 35% of its surgeries totally cost free, adding that the new unit would have an entire floor dedicated for cost free community service.
Inaugurating the facility to the thunderous applause of the large gathering Ms Mamata Banerje the Honourable Chief Minister expressed her pleasure in welcoming a new unit of Sankara Nethralaya, a favourite institution of the people of the State. In a spontaneous expression of her appreciation for the Bajaj group for their contribution and service to healthcare, the Chief Guest most magnanimously draped the ornamental shawl meant to honour her, back on Ms Minal Bajaj the Chairperson of the Jamnalal Bajaj Foundation who was representing the Bajaj family on the occasion. The Chief Minister took the opportunity to lay down strong guidelines and ethics that should govern the functioning of a healthcare institution, she underlined that while healthcare cannot be dispensed totally free it should not be run like other commercial ventures and should ensure that its services made people smile, assuring that her government will not interfere in the internal affairs of a private hospital she expressed her hope that the new institution would live up to the expectations that the people had reposed on it.
The momentous event came to an end with a Vote of Thanks by Shri Rajib De, General Manager, Sankara Nethralaya Kolkata operations.