fortisBetter late than never – that’s what NMMC Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik seems to have practiced in the case of getting the 10% reservation policy for the poor activated in the NMMC – Hiranandani Super Specialty tie up. Fulfilling the promise that NMMC of getting super specialty medical services for the poor available free of cost at the NMMC Hospital, Standing Committee Chairman brought the proposal for the reservation policy and got it approved at a special general body meet. It may be recalled that NMTV News had aired a report on how NMMC’s very purpose of giving away half of the poor man’s hospital building at Vashi to Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty was to make super specialty and additional medial services accessible to the poor. But it’s been months the Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty went functional but the NMMC’s administration showed clear apathy and neglect in presenting the revised policy for referring poor patients to the Hiranandani – Fortis Super Specialty Hospital. We had met Sandeep Thakur – city’s own lone crusader for public issues. Sandeep Thakur had said that the delay could be intentional to benefit the private parties. In his defense Commissioner Vijay Nahata had said that says that on their part the administration presented the proposal for forming the policy based on the agreement signed but if the committee did not approve the proposal, it’s not his fault. He however, assured us that the administration would present the proposal in following week’s standing committee meet. However, NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata failed to keep his word as the administration did not bring the proposal in the next week’s Standing Committee meet either. When we asked the Commissioner the same, he lamely said that the administration needs more time. While the Commissioner failed to keep his word twice, the corporators were facing flak for keeping mum on the issue. But two corporators Namdeo Bhagat and Shivram Patil proved that they were not thick skinned like the rest as they raised the issue in the weekly Standing Committee meet of May 27. In the Standing Committee meet of May 27, corporators Namdeo Bhagat and Shivram Patil raised the issue of the 10% reservation policy for poor patients Fortis – Hiranandani hospital. Namdeo Bhagat attacked the administration for the delay in complete sarcasm questioning why the administration had shown haste in beginning the hospital without taking the benefits due to NMMC from the tie-up. Taking serious cognizance of NMTV report on the issue, in an exclusive interview with NMTV News Chairman Sandeep Naik announced that they would convene a special general body meet and formulate the policy by June 10. On June 9, a special general body meeting was called at the NMMC HQ. The proposal was brought in the name of the Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik. Members presented participated in a healthy debate giving suggestions for the criteria drafted for the 10% reservation of beds for the poor in the Fortis – Hiranandani Hospital. For once even the administration’s response was enthusiastic as the Commissioner accepted some significant suggestions made by corporators. After an hour of suggestions and deliberations, the proposal was approved by the general body meeting. Corporator Vithal More voiced disappointment over the delay that the administration exhibited in getting the revised proposal. Several corporators including Vithal More credited their Chairman for bringing it to the general body for approval. Social activist Sandeep Thakur echoed the feelings of tax paying citizens of Navi Mumbai as he welcomed the approval of the policy. He added that the administration needs to implement the policy in the same spirit as it has been presented on paper. The 10% reservation policy has been brought to make super specialty medical services accessible to the poor free of cost but there is still concern over the prices of the consumables that are as high as the operation cost. To ensure this doesn’t happen, the Chairman Sandeep Naik has called for the administration to fix the rates of consumables at par with charitable hospitals. Further to ensure that implementation is transparent and successful, Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik says that they have called for every three months auditing of the policy. This would help study the lacunae that will surface only after implementation. He says that the 10% reservation policy is the right of the poor and underprivileged, that’s why they intend to keep the policy open for discussion. Sandeep Thakur welcomed the suggestion of auditing the implementation of the policy. The approval of the general body meeting has opened the doors of Fortis – Hiranandani Hospital for the poor and weak to avail affordable super specialty medical services. Citizens from across the city welcomed the decision. Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik had made the promise of making super specialty medical services available for the poor on January 26, 2006 during the official ceremony for the public private partnership – three years later, his younger son Sandeep Naik kept the promise made by his father to the citizens of Navi Mumbai. Zeba Warsia – NMTV News.

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