After weeks of following up the issue of 10% reservation for the poor at Fortis, NMTV finally has the list of clauses kept by Fortis in the proposal approved by the NMMC Standing Committee. While Fortis has rejected NMMC Standing Committee suggestion of selling medicines at charitable rates and filling the backlog of the previous two years, one of its clauses raises the question “Whether Fortis is discriminating between the rich and the poor?” We get you the details with our weekend exclusive “Justice for the Poor” report. Looks like there might be no alternative with NMMC but to terminate its contract with Hiranandani – Fortis because the latest report from this controversial tie is compelling one to believe; that Fortis is discriminating between the rich and the poor. In fact Fortis is not only discriminating between the rich and the poor but has also rejected three suggestions by the Standing Committee. If these suggestions are not abided by Fortis, 10% reservation for the poor becomes meaningless. Let’s find out these significant suggestions of the NMMC Standing Committee that have been rejected by Hiranandani Fortis. * FORTIS REJECTS NMMC STANDING COMMITTEE’S SUGGESTION FOR SELLING MEDICINES AND CONSUMABLES AT CHARITABLE RATES The first suggestion of NMMC that Fortis has outright rejected is the cost of medicines. The approved proposal of NMMC Standing Committee states that Fortis should sell medicines to patients referred under the 10% reservation at charitable cost. Fortis has rejected the suggestion. Commissioner Vijay Nahata informed NMTV News that Fortis has given NMMC the suggestion to buy the medicines from a third party at MRP rates. If poor patients will have to pay MRP rates for medicines, the cost of medicines and consumables will be beyond the reach of the poor patients making the 10% reservation meaningless. * FORTIS REJECTS NMMC STANDING COMMITTEE’S SUGGESTION FOR FILLING BACKLOG Another major approval given by the Standing Committee was that Fortis should fill the backlog of 2.5 years – the time period that has lapsed in the since Fortis started operations in the NMMC Hospital. Commissioner Vijay Nahata said that according to Fortis, the delay is due to NMMC and not them – that is why they are not liable to fill the backlog. Fortis stance of not filling the backlog is unethical because they know that the 10% reservation is the right of the poor from the very day that Fortis started operations in NMMC. It once again points out how the NMMC administration is responsible for not ensuring that they had an approved policy for 10% reservation for the poor in place before giving Fortis the license to begin operations. * FORTIS REJECTS NMMC STANDING COMMITTEE’S SUGGESTION FOR HAVING A COMMON ENTRANCE FOR THE RICH AND THE POOR Another point of the approved Standing Committee proposal that Fortis has rejected is having a common entrance between NMMC Hospital and Fortis. Fortis says that they have an entrance at the hospital on the outside where they can put a shed for poor patients to enter and leave the hospital. When we tried to contact Hiranandani Fortis Director Rajeev Bhoudhankar on the Standing Committee clauses rejected by them, we were told that he is out of town. It’s a wonder that every time a model is visiting Fortis, Rajeev Bhoudhankar is in town to play host to the models but when we approach him to speak on the 10% reservation policy for the poor, he is out of town. In fact, even when we had managed to catch Dr. Rajeev Bhoudhankar for an interview, he had misled the media. It may be recalled that Dr. Bhoudhankar had said that they had never got anything in writing about the proposal approved by the Standing Committee. However, the Commissioner himself exposed Dr. Rajeev Bhoudhankar’s lie in an interview with us. Observers say that Fortis is here to provide medical facilities at 5 star rates to the rich and having a common entrance for the rich and poor could effect their business. That’s why they do not want a common entry for the rich and the poor. While the rejection of the cost of medicines and backlog makes the reservation policy meaningless, the clause put forth by Fortis to have a separate entrance for the poor is raising allegations that they are treating the poor like untouchables, thereby discriminating between the rich and the poor. And there is another shocker coming from the NMMC administration. According to the Commissioner, the Standing Committee had given only an in-principle approval to the proposal for 10% reservation for the poor. At a time when everyone is questioning the unjustified delay in the implementation of the 10% reservation, the Commissioner came out with a shocker. He says that the Standing Committee has given only an “in principle” approval to the 10% reservation policy. That means that the Standing Committee has not approved the proposal yet. But MLA Sandeep Naik counters this claim of the administration. Crediting NMTV for taking up the issue last year, MLA Sandeep Naik said that a proposal approved in Standing Committee is a proposal “approved”, there is nothing such as an “in principle” approval. MLA Sandeep Naik says that had the administration had the intention of implementing the 10% reservation, they would not have called the SC approval as “in principle”. Instead they would have called the license proposal to Fortis as “in principle approval” and terminated the contract when Fortis was rejecting SC’s approved proposal. However, Commissioner Vijay Nahata says that terminating the agreement is the liberty of the NMMC Standing Committee. He accused the administration of not having a good intention. The MLA concludes that there is a simple approach to end the controversy – if Fortis does not accept their approved proposal, then there is no need to pull the matter. The agreement should be terminated. Infuriated with the Commissioner’s approach to the entire issue, MLA Sandeep Naik hit out at NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata. Taunting the Commissioner on the recent rap he got from the Mumbai High Court, MLA Sandeep Naik said that perhaps now he should start working in the interest of the public. Looks like the NMMC administration is continuing to favour Fortis because when Fortis had rejected the SC approved proposal; the Commissioner should have terminated the agreement. There is simple no question of revising the proposal and presenting it again to the Standing Committee because no one is a fool to understand the simple logic the Fortis a tenant and NMMC is the owner. And a tenant never dictates rules to the owner. It’s clear – the NMMC administration is definitely not at all working in the interest of the poor. However how much do the political leaders have the will and conscience to ensure justice to the poor will be out once the election code of conduct is over. It will be NCP’s first test post municipal polls to prove whether they will keep their promise and ensure that the 10% reservation is implemented at the terms and conditions of the past Standing Committee or terminate the agreement with Fortis. With bureau inputs, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
March 14, 2008