So the 10% reservation for the poor at NMMC Fortis has fallen flat on its face. Ironically both the ruling and opposition are admitting that the policy has flopped and want to revise the scheme such that the 10% reservation is cent percent free for the poor. What’s unfortunate is that despite making the same demands, there continues to be an unjustified delay in revising the 10% reservation for the poor. We bring to you all the top quotes and drama that unfolded on the issue since January this year with NMTV “Justice for the Poor” follow up report. 10% reservation for the poor at NMMC Fortis is back to making headlines for all the wrong reasons. It all started on 1st January 2011 when the Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik who was instrumental in bringing the policy for the poor into effect did not hesitate to publicly admit that the reservation was not benefiting the poor and it was time to re-consider the agreement with Hiranandani Fortis. The Guardian Minister’s public admission of concern on Hiranandani Fortis was all that the opposition needed to make it a political tool to attack the ruling front. And so happened in that month’s general body meeting. Wearing black T’s with newspapers cuttings of the Minister’s statement glued to them, the opposition created a ruckus in the meeting over Fortis issues. The next month, 10% reservation for the poor was taken up by Navi Mumbai Shiv Sena Chief Vijay Chougule to make his presence felt after a long time. In his trademark fiery style, Vijay Chougule along with Shiv Sena corporators and party workers took out a morcha against Fortis. In the presence of the police, Vijay Chougule met Hiranandani-Fortis Director Manpreet Sohal and openly challenged that he would burn Fortis hospital if the 10% reservation for the poor was not made completely free within a month. Vijay Chougule’s fiery demeanor left the Fortis management sweating. Manpreet Sohal put up a brave face in front of the media and continued to parrot the statement Fortis always give – that they did not violate the agreement with NMMC. When asked about the Shiv Sena’s threat to burn the hospital, he said he had no comments for that. Outside, Vijay Chougule however attacked Fortis for parroting the lines that they were following the agreement. Vijay Chougule also said that the ruling front of having the power to implement the 10% reservation free of cost over night. He did not hesitate to repeat in front of the media, that if Fortis did not heed their demand, he would burn the hospital. Soon after came the Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik’s reaction on the Shiv Sena morcha. He reminded them that it was the Guardian Minister who had voiced concern first and then the Opposition woke from its deep slumber. Clearly disturbed after the Shiv Sena protest, Fortis Director Manpreet Sohal dropped in the Janta Darbaar to meet the Thane Guardian Minister. On the other hand NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Anant Sutar and Health Committee Chairman Shivram Patil, who were earlier in Shiv Sena were quick to attack Vijay Chougule’s threat of burning the hospital. Shivram Patil said in the Standing Committee that they were trustees of the hospital and no one burns their own home. On the other hand, in a sarcastic taunt, Anant Sutar said that NCP will take a decision on 10% reservation soon and distribute sweets. They will let Sena burn crackers then. However, the one man whose words matter the most in this case is Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik. The last time that he spoke to the media on this issue, he admitted that the hospital was a public property and if things don’t happen in the interest of citizens then it was shameful. He assured that the poor will get their rights and it’s a matter of a few days now. Clearly the NCP leaders are having to correct the mistakes that the NMMC administration made when Madhukar Kokate was the Commissioner and Dr. Sanjay Pattiwar was Chief Medical Officer. It was during their tenure that the poor man’s hospital was literally sold to Hiranandani – Fortis. Now the time has come that both the ruling front and opposition leaders are admitting that the reservation is not benefitting the poor and the reservation should be available completely free of cost. However, despite similar demands by the ruling and opposition, unjustified delay continues to haunt the 10% reservation for the poor at the poor man’s hospital.
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