With an eye on foreign patients, Apollo Hospitals is setting up a medicity near Pune that will offer "first rate ayurveda treatment".
The hospital has signed an agreement with Hindustan Construction Co (HCC), a real estate firm, to set up the medicity inside the upcoming hill station named Lavasa in Maharashtra.
"It's a joint venture between HCC and Apollo. The medicity is coming up over an area of 200 acres," said HCC chairman and managing director Ajit Gulabchand.
"It would be a state-of-the-art health and wellness centre, including hospitals, research and development labs, long term care centres. We (HCC and Apollo) have pegged Rs 2 billion as the initial investment," Gulabchand told IANS.
The concept of medicity is a holistic health centre where one can find high-end hospitals, rejuvenation centres, research and development labs and facility for medical education as well.
Rajgopal Nogja, president of the Lavasa project, said: "Apart from the regular treatment in which Apollo has done very well over the years, the major focus would be ayurveda."
"Currently, Kerala is the hub of alternative medicine and a lot of foreigners are going there for rejuvenation. We want to capture this market. This medicity would be a huge wellness centre rather than just a tertiary hospital," Nogja said.
"There would be adequate facilities for ayurvedic healing of various diseases and complete rejuvenation. There would be various types of massage facilities as well. The effort will boost the medical tourism scenario in the country."
"Besides ayurveda, the medicity will do extensive research on cancer and heart related issues. We will have a full fledged R&D lab," he said, adding the medicity would be an hour's drive from Pune.
The authorities said to begin with a 50-bed hospital would be ready by 2009. "A 50-bed hospital would be commissioned by October 2009 and it would be upgraded to a 150-bed hospital by 2012," Nogja clarified.
HCC is building a hill station over 12,500 acres near Pune at a cost of Rs 440 billion ($11 billion).
Nestled in the picturesque Sahyadri mountains along a 20-km long lake, the Lavasa hill station will have all kinds of facilities, including five-star hotels, a library, a golf course and a convention centre.
The authorities said looking at the picturesque setting, nearly two million tourists would be expected to visit the township after the completion of the entire project.
"These tourists can avail themselves of both healthcare and rejuvenation at our medicity," he said.
Oxford University is also setting up a business research centre inside the hill station.
Before Apollo, Fortis Healthcare, another private hospital chain, had declared it would come up with a medicity in Gurgaon on the outskirt of Delhi.