BBMP may be relieved of healthcare duties in Bengaluru

With Benglauru in the middle of a ferocious second wave of COVID-19, the State government has proposed that the civic body be stripped of its duties in fighting the pandemic and they be handed over to a parastatal — the Bengaluru Health Directorate — constituted under the Department of Health and Family Welfare.

Deputy Chief Minister C.N. Ashwath Narayan, who also heads the State COVID-19 task force, announced the proposal on Saturday. A committee will look into the technicalities and submit a report when the task force meets next. “Healthcare in the city has been found wanting during the pandemic. We propose to build a 100-bed hi-tech hospital in every Assembly segment and a super-speciality hospital for every four Assembly segments. There are many agencies carrying out public health functions in the city. The new directorate will bring them all under one umbrella,” said Mr. Narayan.

The proposal to divest the BBMP of public health, an obligatory function of local self-governments under the 74th amendment of the Constitution, has drawn the ire of several citizen groups. It was only recently that the State government announced its intention to decentralise the fight against the pandemic and empower wards, on the lines of the Kerala and Mumbai models.

BBMP Chief Commissioner Gaurav Gupta said it was not for him to speak about the proposal, as he was not at the task force meeting. Asked what such a move would mean for the city, he said it was a hypothetical question that he couldn’t respond to.

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Printable version | Jun 13, 2021 6:18:14 AM |

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