Mumbai

BMC to pay ₹22 crore to Wadia Hospitals

Aggrieved: Retired and current staff of Wadia Hospitals is protesting unpaid salaries.

Aggrieved: Retired and current staff of Wadia Hospitals is protesting unpaid salaries.   | Photo Credit: Emmanual Yogini

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Standing committee members agree to clear dues, but demand detailed audit of hospital accounts

With political pressure to save Wadia Hospitals mounting on it, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to pay the hospital ₹22 crore due to it. The decision was taken in Tuesday’s standing committee meeting. However, members have demanded a detailed audit of the hospital accounts.

According to a trust deed signed between the hospitals and BMC in 1926, the civic body pays 100% subsidy to the Bai Jerbai Wadia Hospital for Children and 50% to the Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital every quarter. A committee formed by the BMC to look into the affairs of the hospitals had found serious irregularities late last year, owing to which the civic body decided to hold back around 10% of the amount due to it.

Additional municipal commissioner Suresh Kakani on Monday said the hospital management had not provided information about the number of beds set aside for mill workers’ families, despite being mandated to reserve 50% beds. Both hospitals had increased the number of beds from sanctioned strength without permission, he had said.

The BMC has alleged that the management has recruited more staff than permissible, and it is not providing free treatment and is instead charging twice or thrice the municipal rates. It has claimed that at least six senior officers are receiving salaries and allowances for both hospitals. The civic body has further alleged that at least 10 staffers are receiving pension from both hospitals, and the BMC has not been submitted any records to show the hospitals’ revenue.

There are also differences between the trust and the BMC over the total amount due to the hospital. The hospital management claims the BMC owes it ₹137 crore, while the BMC claims it only owes ₹22 crore.

Following complaints of irregularities, the BMC held back the money from its December payment. After the payment was halted, the management claimed that patients were being turned away and the hospital may shut down. Current and retired staffers then staged a protest.

The issue was brought up in the standing committee meeting by the Shiv Sena’s Vishakha Raut, who took a point of order. Ms. Raut said the leader of opposition, Ravi Raja, had taken up the matter in December, but was neglected by the administration.

BJP corporator Prabhakar Shinde said, “Despite the BMC giving money to the BEST, there hasn’t been much change on ground as there is no effective monitoring. In this case too, it kept giving money without auditing records.”

Following a debate, Mr. Kakani said the BMC only owes Wadia Hospitals ₹22 crore. Considering patient welfare, committee chairman Yashwant Jadhav directed the administration to release this amount immediately. However, the BMC has refused to recognise the beds and staff added by the hospital without its approval.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 11:33:11 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/bmc-to-pay-22-cr-to-wadia-hospitals/article30570723.ece

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