13 Feb

Ratan Tata Completes His Animal Hospital Project

Mumbai: Having worked on it for some time now, Ratan Tata is ready to roll out a project that is rather close to his heart. Born from his desire to provide world-class healthcare to his injured dog, his new project is an animal hospital in Mahalaxmi, Mumbai, which is set to be inaugurated early in March. Named the Tata Trusts Small Animal Hospital, it is built on a sprawling 2.2 acres for INR 165 crore and is set to be a world-class facility for animal care.

The facility is set to be one of the few spaces providing 24x7 care for dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small animals & house pets. In an interview with the Times of India, Ratan Tata spoke about the inauguration of the facility. “A pet is no different from a member of one’s family today. As the guardian of several pets throughout my life, I recognize the need for this hospital.”

He also spoke about the struggles he faced while attempting to arrange a joint replacement procedure for his dog before flying his dog to the University of Minnesota in the US. “But I was too late, and so they froze the dog’s joint in a particular position. That experience enabled me to see what a world-class veterinary hospital was equipped to do”.

 The experience was a cornerstone in his beliefs that Mumbai should have a veterinary hospital as well; however, he could only get started on his pet project once he had the time to do so, after hanging up his cap as the Chairman at Tata Sons back in 2012. More than a decade later in 2024, his ambition is finally coming to fruition and his veterinary hospital is nearing its opening date.

The hospital was initially planned to be constructed in Kalamboli, with a land deal being reached for the same with the state government back in 2017. However, Mr Ratan Tata decided to move the hospital to a more central location, citing the commute pet parents in Mumbai would have to face. “This (distance) could’ve been a major deterrent for pet parents, especially those in need of emergency services. With this in mind, finding the right space for land and getting permissions was also a reason for delay”, he said.

Another delay occurred with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as construction work in Mahalaxmi had to be stopped within 3 months of commencement. “It then took us about a year and a half to realign the agreements, documentation, and paperwork. By the time we returned to normalcy, the expenses of the hospital had also been impacted owing to inflationary costs of steel, manpower and availability of raw materials," he continued. The trusts themselves have a 30-year lease agreement with the BMC for the hospital land.   

With a capacity for 200 patients across the ground plus four floors, the hospital will be led by Thomas Heathcote, a British veterinarian who has relocated to Mumbai for this project specifically. The hospital itself is tied up with five veterinary schools in the UK, including the Royal Veterinary College for training, diagnostic, surgical, and pharmaceutical services.

“The current healthcare infrastructure for animals is still inadequate. And this hospital, coming from the Tatas, will be a blessing as vets will not think twice before recommending pet parents there,” said Deepa Katyal, a Chembur-based veterinarian.

The facility will also house a dedicated space which will cater to the needs and well-being of stray dogs, run by an NGO. Mr Ratan Tata is known as a dog lover; the headquarters of Tata Group has a kennel exclusively for strays belonging to the area. Mr Tata himself issued the order that the stray animals were to be given shelter inside the building.

“It is a personal dream of mine that the city should have a state-of-the-art animal health centre, and I am delighted to see it finally come to life. It will be a resource for everyone who owns pets or comes across distressed animals, and it will save a limb, or a life, and help cure disease,” said Tata.



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