China keen to fund state hospital, wants it named after Dr Kotnis

Beijing wants to fund modernisation of a government hospital at Vengurla in Sindhudurg district, provided it is named after Dr Dwarkanath Shantaram Kotnis, one of five Indian physicians sent to China for medical assistance during the second Sino-Japanese war in 1938.

Dr Kotnis is considered an example of Sino-Indian friendship and collaboration. He continues to be revered by the Chinese.

Last week, the Chinese consul general in Mumbai, Niu Qingbao, met health minister Suresh Shetty to discuss modernisation and upgrade of the 30-bed hospital. He said his government was keen to provide financial assistance for the development.

A health department official said the state had already approved upgrade of the hospital to 50 beds. Dr Kotnis, who was born in Solapur, also lived in Vengurla. "Qingbao was told that after getting a detailed proposal from Chinese authorities, it would be forwarded to the Centre for a final decision," the official said.

Dr Kotnis, who was 28 when he went to China, stayed there for almost five years working in mobile clinics to treat wounded soldiers. He died of epilepsy on December 9, 1942, at 32.

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