In April 2009, NMTV had started following up the delay in the implementation of the 10% reservation policy. Despite assurances and approvals the implementation of the policy was being delayed for one reason or the other – primarily due to administrative apathy. That is why in April, NMTV began a movement – an initiative “Justice for the Poor”. From Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik to Fortis Director Dr. Rajeev Bhaudhankar – we met and raised the issue of delay with all those who had the key for the implementation of the policy. And finally this week, NMTV initiative got justice to the poor as the 10% reservation has been implemented with all 5 clauses at Fortis. NMTV News had aired the first report on the injustice being done to the poor at Fortis Hiranandani Hospital on May 16, 2009 with our report titled, “Poor man yet to get medical services while Hiranandani – Fortis rakes huge profits – courtesy NMMC administration”. As a result of our report, the then Standing Committee Chairman Sandeep Naik called for a special general body meeting where corporators approved the 10% reservation policy and sent it for approval to the Standing Committee. It took the NMMC administration more than 6 months to get the proposal right as demanded by corporators. However, the election code of conduct was looming large on NMMC. Taking serious note of our report, the then Chairman Sandeep Naik approved the proposal at the Standing Committee meeting along with 5 clauses. Immediately after municipal polls, we followed up the issue and found out that the administration has still not implemented the 10% reservation policy. NMTV took the up issue of the delay in 10% reservation for the poor at Hiranandani Fortis again. Having followed up the issue for nearly two years, on April 24, 2010, we started the NMTV “Justice for Poor” initiative. We met MLA Sandeep Naik who had stated that was if Fortis did not accept the 5 clauses of the Standing Committee, NMMC will terminate the agreement with Fortis. On May 1, on our series we met Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik who came down heavily on the NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata and had challenged Fortis that if they do not want to accept the proposal approved at the Standing Committee meeting, they can leave the poor man’s hospital and go. In the series on May 6, we reported social activist Sandeep Thakur’s victory against NMMC in the case of the illegal garden at Vashi’s holding pond. Our report was based on this victory as we questioned “Will another High Court order force NMMC Commissioner Vijay Nahata to implement 10% reservation for the poor at Hiranandani Fortis”? Our series compelled Commissioner Vijay Nahata to speak to us on the clauses rejected by Fortis. NMTV was the first to report on the NMMC Standing Committee clauses rejected by Fortis. The following week, Fortis Director Dr. Rajeev Bhaudhankar, in an interview with NMTV termed all the 5 Standing Committee clauses illogical and stated why they rejected it. On May 29, we followed up the issue again with our report “With the election code of conduct over when will justice be done to the poor?” Finally on June 2, the proposal was tabled in front of the new NMMC Standing Committee but was once again sent back to the NMMC administration. So we reported “Whether justice delayed in 10% reservation at Fortis is justice denied to the poor?” And finally, today NMTV Initiative got justice to the poor as the NMMC Standing Committee approved the proposal and 10% reservation for the poor has been implemented with all the 5 clauses this week. At the Standing Committee members informed that Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik along with MLA Sandeep Naik convened a meeting with the Commissioner, Standing Committee members and Fortis Director Dr. Rajeev Bhaudhankar. The Minister directly told Fortis to either think about the welfare of the poor and accept all the Standing Committee clauses or leave the NMMC Hospital. And perhaps seeing the stern stance of the Minister, Dr. Rajeev Bhaudhankar suddenly found logic in all the Standing Committee clauses that he was calling illogical so far. The Standing Committee members also warned Dr. Bhaudhankar for terming their clauses as illogical. The good news is that the 10% reservation policy has been implemented with all the 5 clauses. Lets take a look at the all these five clauses that Dr. Rajeev Bhaudhankar had termed illogical but were logical as far as the interest of the poor. * Fortis will sell medicines with 10% discount and consumables with 6% discount. At the same patients can also purchase medicines and consumables from government suppliers. * Fortis will make a new entrance from within the NMMC Hospital to Fortis Hospital. * Fortis will fill the backlog. They will give 5 beds extra every month – that means along with the 15 beds of the 10% reservation – 5 additional beds would be given to NMMC making it 20 beds in total. This way the backlog will be filled in a time period of 3 years for indoor patients and within 1 year for outdoor patients. * Fortis has accepted to treat patients of any epidemic or disaster in accordance with the 10% reservation policy but won’t count it under it. * Fortis has accepted to reduce the deposit of general ward patients to Rs. 1000 and super specialty cases to Rs. 5000. MLA Sandeep Naik voiced confidence that a benchmark was set by NMMC that will benefit the poor. NMTV News also met Thane Guardian Minister Ganesh Naik who succeeded in getting the 10% reservation proposal approved, which was initially approved during the tenure of Sandeep Naik’s Standing Committee. The Guardian Minister’s intervention in getting the 10% reservation policy approved with all the 5 clauses also exposes that somewhere Commissioner Vijay Nahata failed to do justice to the poor due to which the Minister had to personally take up the issue. The Minister and MLA Sandeep Naik acknowledged the role NMTV played in implementing the policy. Even members of the Standing Committee acknowledged the role of NMTV in expediting the issue. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who gets the credit but what is important is that the poor got justice. However, like they say it’s not over till it’s over. So even though the 10% reservation is implemented with the 5 clauses, the million dollar wait is for the day when the poor will actually get the so-called super specialty medical services at Fortis at affordable rates. Until that happens, NMTV’s Justice for Poor initiative will continue because only that day will mark the true victory of the poor and will be the day when the poor get justice at the poor man’s hospital. With cameraperson Vinayak Dalvi, Sana Warsia for NMTV News.
November 14, 2015
December 14, 2015