It was a proud moment for the Bakeri family as over 100 well-wishers turned up to celebrate the Rs 30 crore renovation of the Dr Jivraj Mehta Hospital in Paldi on Sunday. Octogenarian Anil Bakeri, president of the charitable trust that runs the hospital, was there to greet the guests and one attendee even made an on-the-spot donation on the occasion.
“The gentleman quietly handed me an envelope and left. It was only later that we found it contained two cheques of Rs 51 lakh each,” says Achal Bakeri, vice-president of the trust and the prime mover behind the renovation project.
Named after Mahatma Gandhi’s personal physician and the first chief minister of Gujarat, the 35-year-old Jivraj Mehta hospital now looks brand new. Begun two years ago, soon after the Covid pandemic, the renovation project has been financed through donations (Rs 24 crore from the Bakeri family) and has taken two years to complete. “The hospital needed a facelift to keep up with the times,” says Achal Bakeri. “People’s expectations have changed over the years and we needed to change too.”
With his background in design and architecture, Achal was just the right person to lead the renovation project. The aim was to turn the hospital into a cheerful, aesthetically pleasing place and in that Achalbhai has certainly succeeded. “Most of the budget went into civil works,” he says. “But we have also bought new equipment and added a department of gynaecology and a high dependency unit.”
Though it now looks very upscale, the 220-bed Jivraj Mehta Hospital remains a low-cost charitable hospital. The General Ward is free, and so are Dialysis services. And though it is funded largely by the Jain community, its trustees stress that religion plays no part in running the hospital. “We are a completely secular hospital. We cater to all religions and the only religious symbol we have is a small statue of Ganesha at the entrance,” says Achal Bakeri.
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