A Friend And Humanitarian
R K Sipani always believed in giving back to society, and to honour the memory of his friend and brother-in-law, the businessman created an oncology care center for the needyR K Sipani Chairman, Sioani Group
For RK Sipani, 76, there always seemed to be a larger calling he attended to even as he went about tending to his wide range of businesses and establishments. To understand the person, one would have to go back to as far as 1980 when Sipani first entered the automobile industry by manufacturing India’s first three-wheeled car called the Sipani Badal. From there, he built up a family conglomerate; the Sipani group is now a well-established name in the automobile, real estate, and manufacturing industries.
Even in the midst of creating wealth and building these diverse industries from scratch, Sipani never failed to do his bit to provide help for those in need, who did not have access to resources. The Sipani Seva Sadan in Channasandra, established in 2012 by the RK Sipani Foundation and is run in association with the RVM Foundation, is a charitable home for the homeless and remains a shelter for the needy. What started out as a 150-bed facility in a 15,000-sq. ft area now is a 500-bed facility for the poor and homeless. It serves as a great support for a large section of the poor and underprivileged today.
The one thing that plagued Sipani was that all his wealth did not come to his aid to help save his brother-in-law, Dhanraj Daga; Daga, who was also a childhood friend of Sipani’s, succumbed to heart disease but before his death, he expressed his desire to build a cancer hospital for the poor. “It was Daga’s dream that we build a hospital for the poor. He was 73 and died four years ago due to cardiac issues. A few months before his death, we visited Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology and sought permission from the director to ensure that the project was completed,” Sipani says, in a recent interview.
The project began by putting up a 390-bed block at the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (KMIO) in Bengaluru in 2018. This initial block alone is estimated to have cost the Sipani family INR 13 crore; another 410-bed block will be constructed in the coming months.
The project began by setting up a 390-bed block for mentally and physically challenged senior citizens at Kidwai Memorial Institute Of Oncology in Bengaluru in 2018. The initial block cost the Sipani Foundation INR 13 crore; another 410-bed block will be constructed in the coming months.
“Most of the residents are disabled and mentally-challenged senior citizens. Many are thrown out by their families, leaving them with no option but to die. We ensure that these senior citizens are well cared for with medical services,” says Sipani. When completed, the hospital will have a total of six floors with the capacity to house over 800 beds. Since its establishment, as many as 15 lakh patients have been treated at this block at KMIO. At the moment, though, the hospital lacks enough staff to make use of the available infrastructure. To overcome this hurdle, the hospital authorities, as well as Sipani himself, have requested the government to grant approval for the recruitment of more staff members.
There have also been various collaborations with other centers for acquiring more facilities and resources for the patients. There is a requirement of more hospital space to meet the daily requirements of the patients, who come to KMIO from across the country for various requirements. As part of these collaborations, a few months ago, then Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy opened a new operation theatre block with five major modern operation theatres at KMIO. This project was undertaken by Infosys Foundation as part of an INR 11-crore project.
Sipani’s work does not stop there. One of the projects listed by the R K Foundation includes setting up a multispeciality hospital in Bikaner, Sipani’s hometown. Bikaner also severely lacks in good primary and tertiary health care, and this hospital will be Sipani’s gift to building better social infrastructure in his homeland.
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