Visakhapatnam

Andhra Pradesh: Tracing INHS Kalyani’s journey, from a berth on a ship to a sprawling hospital

An old picture of INHS Kalyani, showing then Chief of Naval Staff Ram Dass Katari receiving a salute at a march-past at the commissioning parade of the hospital, on May 18, 1962.

An old picture of INHS Kalyani, showing then Chief of Naval Staff Ram Dass Katari receiving a salute at a march-past at the commissioning parade of the hospital, on May 18, 1962.

What began with just one berth on a ship to provide medical assistance for naval personnel in 1941, is today a sprawling hospital with 316 beds and a number of medical specialties.

Indian Naval Hospital Ship (INHS) Kalyani, the only hospital under the Eastern Naval Command., was officially commissioned on May 18, 1962, and the hospital is celebrating its Diamond Jubilee this year.

When it started functioning, it was still under British rule and the Royal Indian Navy and the Eastern Naval Command was then called HMIS (His Majesty’s Indian Ship). Post independence, with India becoming a Republic, it began to be known as INS Circars. It became a command on March 1, 1968, says Edward Paul, a city historian.

INHS Kalyani’s modest beginnings can be traced to 1941 when one ‘ship berth attendant’ was drafted to give medical cover to a small number of naval personnel stationed in Visakhapatnam.

In 1943, a 12-bedded sickbay was established which was gradually expanded to 59 beds by 1960. Later, this sickbay at INS Circars was converted into a hospital and was formally commissioned as INHS Kalyani, her crest depicting a lotus with the rising sun in the background. It was then based inside the Circars premises.

“We still remember going to this small hospital inside INS Circars, which was little bigger than a dispensary, for getting medical check-ups as NCC cadets,” reminisces Mr. Paul.

Kalyani was shifted to its present complex at Malkapuram on November 16, 1986. Since then, it has been making rapid strides and currently has 316 beds with a number of specialties.

The Emergency Response Teams (ERTs) of this hospital have been at the forefront in providing medical relief to the civilian population and armed forces personnel, during various emergencies and natural calamities, both within and outside the country.

Vizagites still remember the hospital and its staff which played a stellar role during the HPCL explosion in 1997.

The government has now approved the upgradation of INHS Kalyani to a Command Hospital, with 604 beds and an associated pool of medical specialists and manpower. This would make INHS Kalyani one of the top command hospitals in the country and the eighth overall.


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Printable version | Jun 22, 2022 2:53:43 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/tracing-inhs-kalyanis-journey-from-a-berth-on-a-ship-to-a-sprawling-hospital/article65426082.ece