25 September 2010
By Lata.Mishra, India
Record collection at Lalbaugcha Raja raises hopes of a hospital with dialysis centre that mandal committee wants to set up
The Raja’s riches are swelling. Organising committee members of Lalbaugcha Raja have counted cash donations worth Rs 5–crore – around Rs 50–lakh more compared to 2009 – while the coins, running into lakhs, are still to be entered into the account books. Considering gifts of gold and silver ornaments, many of which will be auctioned on Saturday evening, the mandal organisers are confident of crossing last year’s overall collection worth Rs 17–crore.
The municipal corporation has sanctioned 3,000 sq mt plot at Lower Parel for the project. As per the proposal, the poor will be able to undergo dialysis for just Rs 100, a rate at least 10 times cheaper compared to State–run hospitals.
The centre will have 16 dialysis machines, and a well–equipped laboratory. "We hope to get at least the dialysis centre up and running by the end of 2010," said Sudhir Salvi, the mandal’s secretary.
There are plans besides the hospital as well, said the mandal’s president, Satish Khankar. "We intend to adopt a village, and provide it with amenities like schools, food, clean water and electricity," Khankar said, "Every year, we give around Rs 4–crore to civic and State–run hospitals, specially to help those requiring heart surgeries."
Mandal minders said this year, the counting of cash began early, just a few days into the festival, and concluded only on Friday. Around 15 officials from Maharashtra Bank helped in counting. Among the gifts received are an ambulance, donated by a family whose member recently recovered from an illness.
Lakhs of coconuts have already been distributed to the poor, while jewellers are examining more than 300 pieces of ornaments, which have filled up as many as eight containers. Khankar said, "Jewellers are separating gold and silver ornaments from imitation jewellery and gold–plated ornaments."