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Bhota Charitable Hospital - Love and Labour find expression

(National Update, India, August-October 2001) — Situated majestically in a picturesque plateau at Bhota facing the Eastern Himalayas, the Bhota Charitable Hospital of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, the first charitable hospital of its kind, in Himachal, is nearing completion and will start functioning fully by the end of this year. The hospital adds a new dimension to the health services in Himachal, supplementing the govt. efforts substantially and inspiring the concerned govt. agencies to take cue from it, in improving the health system, in the state for betterment.

The five storeyed hospital structure, associated welfare, community and residential complexes epitomise toil of lakhs of devotees who leveled the hillock and filled up the deep ravines, braving the adversities for erecting this gigantic institution in service of ailing humanity. The Bhota Charitable Hospital is a hospital conceived out of love, built out of love, and which functions with love as its guiding force.

The hundred bedded hospital spread over 40 acre land will have major departments - ophthalmology, gynaecology-obstetrics, paediatrics, Orthopaedics, ENT, dentistry, Radiology, Pathology, Physiotherapy, Medicine, Surgery, Anaesthesia in addition to a laboratory set up for carrying out all kinds of sophisticated tests. The hospital presents a rare combination of aesthetics and ambience owing to architectural excellence and proximity to nature. Equipped with ultra modern facilities, it is attuned to the needs of the patients and has associated modern cooking, laundry and waste management system. The kitchen has a revolutionary concept of steam baked food mechanically prepared and untouched by human hands from hygienic angle. The laundry unit will disinfect, wash, iron and stack 250 bed-sheets, same number of pillow covers and towels daily. The sewerage disposal plant on the other hand, will convert the human waste, and other disposals into manure, bio-gas and 90-95 percent clean water for utilisation in irrigation. Bio-gas produced will be used for cooking purpose in langar. The incinerator will burn out hospital waste without creating pollution.

The hospital will also have a library besides patient's canteen in the main building. All this and the engineering department make the Bhota Charitable Hospital a well managed institution of service in the real sense. The best cost saving part in the hospital construction was in-house fabrication of precast units like hollow blocks, bricks, cement jaalis, floor tiles, interior and exterior paint at Bhota itself and at Dera Beas. Even the nallahs and water drainage system were scientifically handled and underground covered system provided them proper concealment.

The OPD started functioning in 1999 with a few doctors and now nearly fifty percent medical staff has joined the hospital. The OPD, with growing popularity, has started drawing good number of patients now. Structurally the entire hospital project is ready except for the Central Welfare Complex and the Community Centre which are nearing completion. When the hospital becomes fully operational by the end of this year, the entire area of the project will have grassy grounds, foliage of ornamental flowers along the boundary, flower beds with plants coming from Dera nursery at Beas. Environmentally, the hospital on completion, can be described as one of the best eco-friendly hospitals in India.

For doctors, paramedical staff and for security, a massive residential complex of over 200 apartments is almost ready. The complex will have 16 B type apartments with 1700 sq. ft. area, 48 C type quarters with 1300 sq. ft. area and 108 D type quarters comprising 900 sq. ft. area, in each flat. All residences have underground electric, telephone and TV cables systematically laid.

The structure of Central Welfare Complex for hospital residents, patient's attendants and visitors, is also nearing completion. It will have Bhojan Bhandar, cafeteria, shopping arcade - vegetable, fruit, sweet and confectionery shops, milk booths, general provision stores, tailoring shops, hair cutting saloons, cobbler's stall, bank, post office, telephone exchange and other outlets for daily needs. The Community Centre will also be ready by September this year for indoor games and for satsang.

The hospital complex will have an electrical sub-station and two generating sets of 125 KVA each for meeting any power eventuality. Four solar water heating systems of a thousand litre and five hundred litre capacity have also been installed. The medical gases manifold for ICU, emergency and for other important functions for supplying oxygen and nitrous oxide will be there. LPG manifolds have been established in the kitchen, Bhojan Bhandar and Cafeteria.

The hospital complex will have, on its rolls, nearly 250 employees in addition to voluntary sewadars. The element of sewa provides a distinct identity to the hospital making it different form others. It is the first hospital in the Himachal, totally charitable in nature, with additional facility of free food and medicines where the patient is a VIP. With maximum thrust to patient care, the hospital has been conceived and planned in a way that availability of doctor is ensured at the time of need. If the doctor is not in the room, any distress call from the poor patient will reach the doctor and the nurse instantaneously. The moment patient sends the signal to the staff nurse by pressing the bedside button, the patient's bed number will electronically get flashed at the nursing station and will remain flashing till nurse reaches the patient.

The hospital, has sub-soil water system. It has 4 deep bore holes for water supply to the hospital. As ground water level is going down, the hospital is scientifically developing the rain water harvesting system by evolving a filtration system, in consultation with experts, for safe-clean water. The multi-layer filtration through different zones will enable the hospital not only to preserve clean water after rains but will act as a model for promoting the rain water harvesting culture for others.

Third in the series, after the hospitals at Dera Beas and Sikandarpur, the Bhota Charitable Hospital in district Hamirpur of Himachal Pradesh is symbolic of love and selfless service of people of all hues, irrespective of their status, caste and creed, who sacrificed days and nights for years together in turning the mountainous terrain into a beautiful landscape. The centre of inspiration for sewa was Baba Gurinder Singh Dhillon, the Saint of Beas. The hospital has been carved out of mortar of love and cement of dedication. The rich and the poor, the old and the young, including children, served unmindful of hardships and climatic hazards. The high hills were mowed down, depressions filled up, hard rocky terrains blasted and broken for shaping up the sloppy and rugged hillock. People, devoted to Radha Soami path, converged at Bhota from all parts of the state and from the neighbouring areas of Punjab, Haryana and Rajasthan. Woman, children and the old trudged through the slushy paths during rains and also during summer days of scorching heat to build this institution of service, with faith in the Master. The sewa, unparalleled in the world, could be seen in tears and the sweat on their faces. Every devotee, imbued in love, wanted to perform more, even beyond his physical limitations.

The hospital has ample scope of expansion from the initial bed capacity of 100. The departmental expansion will involve minimal disruption and cost with existing conducive infrastructure.

Engineering excellence
The hospital, from technical angle, can be described as an architectural marvel. It is an excellent combination of perfect engineering, seismic safeguards for tolerance against earthquake threats, natural availability angle for sunlight and fresh air.

Environment friendly culture
The hospital, unlike most of the hospitals, is highly environment-friendly. The greenery all around, beautiful setting of flower beds, ornamental trees at the project boundaries and at other places, availability of natural light and cross ventilation brings the hospital more nearer to nature.

The Medical Library
The proposed library will have a large number of medical reference books and latest periodicals and journals on medical science and associated fields for keeping the doctors abreast of the latest global information in medical sciences.

Indoor Patients Wards
The Indoor Patients Wards are well lit, spacious and well connected with the nurse's station. Every bed is hooked into a nurse-call system, which signals at the nurse's station. Well equipped rooms with oxygen, suction, compressed air and cardiac monitors gave an intermediary care area for patients who become more seriously ill after transfer from ICU, or the operation theatre. Every bed is equipped with headphones, for providing three channels for listening to news, popular devotional music or spiritual discourses.

The Outdoor Patients Department (OPD)
The first point of contact for most of the patients, the Outdoor Patients Department (OPD) is the busiest part of the hospital and has been designed to systematically seat the patients in the waiting room after registration who are referred to concerned doctors for diagnosis, injections and dressings, minor operations and for laboratory samples collection and examination. Systematic quick disposal after satisfactory initial treatment with an excellent record maintenance for the follow up treatment is part of work ethos of the general OPD.

The Community Centre
The Community Centre is being built to provide a place for the hospital staff to relax together, enjoy indoor games and hold various community functions. In addition, the Centre will have staff creche and a large hall for satsangs.

Shopping Complex
The hospital will have a shopping complex for meeting the daily needs of the hospital residents and for the attendants accompanying the patients. Most of the shops in the complex will be run on "no profit no loss" basis. The complex will have a general store, a provision store, bhojan bhandar, vegetable shop, fruit stall, milk booth, a sweet shop, a confectionary, a soft drink shop, a tailor shop, a barber shop, STD counter, a post office and a bank.

The earthquake resistant, environment friendly and energy efficient Bhota Charitable Hospital bears the imprint of voluntary labour of Radha Soami devotees and seekers who, despite lack of experience served with gratitude and utter humility from dawn to dusk for days, months and years. They came again and again in groups unwilling to leave any opportunity of service, which the hospital required with the grace of Babaji. The poor came bundled up in trucks, trolleys chartered buses and matadors and were thankful for being the part of this 'labour of love'. Darshan of Babaji was the ample reward for those engaged in sewa which enthused them to work with more dedication and zeal.

The Bhota Charitable Hospital conceived and built on the virtues of selfless service, compassion and man's humanity towards man, is the medium through which love and compassion find expression. Carved out of dedicated sewa, the Bhota Charitable Hospital, under care and guidance, Babaji, the spiritual head of Radha Soami Satsang Beas, will continue the sewa culture in the service of humanity, establishing rare emulative traits for others.

"You live that you may learn to love, you love that you may learn to live, no other lesson is required of man". - Mirdad