Skip to main content

Amidst privatisation move corruption scandal "rocks" Ahmedabad's top public hospital

Counterview Desk
Four independent board members of the Vadilal Sarabhai General and Chinai Maternity Hospitals, Ahmedabad's top public health care facilities catering to the needs of the poor for decades, have taken strong objection to the failure of the city authorities to cope corruption scandals rocking them.
Signed by Rupa Chinai, Brijesh Chinai, Jay Sheth and Dr Nishith Shah, belonging to the original donor family, the board members in a statement have also objected to the move to hand over prime space in the Sarabhai General and Chinai Hospitals to private agencies, bringing in "obscure diagnostic services" on a contractual basis.
"We see this as part of a worrying move to undermine medical services in the existing hospitals", they insist.

Text of the statement:

The constant interference and corruption scandals perpetuated by the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation-created Medical Education Trust (AMC-MET) in the administrative affairs of the Vadilal Sarabhai (VS) General and Chinai Maternity Hospitals is yet again dragging down the reputation of this 80-year-old institution established by Sardar Vallabhai Patel in 1931.
We, the independent members of the VS board of management, representing the donor families, are forced, in the interest of transparency and accountability, to inform the public of Ahmedabad about two recent corruption scandals that are admitted by the board, but resulting in cover up, inaction and extensive loss to the public exchequer.
The first instance of corruption pertains to a major fraud whereby Rs 8 crore of the Employees' Provident Fund were wrongfully invested by the hospital administration, led by Superintendent Dr. Sandeep Malhan with the backing of AMC-MET. The issue of this investment was never brought before the VSH board of management for clearance. It led to a penalty of Rs 7 crore and Rs 63 lakh being imposed by the Provident Fund Commissioner.
The AMC, in an effort to cover up its complicity has advanced a grant to the hospital to pay this penalty. Meanwhile, the agenda for the forthcoming VSH board Meeting of December 14, 2018, seeks the board ’s sanction in challenging the PF Commissioner’s penalty in the High Court.
This same matter had also come up in the agenda of the previous board meeting held on October 12, 2018 when we had demanded answers to the following questions: Who is responsible for this wrongful investment? What is the reason for the penalty charged to VSH? Why was the issue not placed before the VSH board of management for initial clearance? Why has the AMC tried to cover up for this by advancing penalty payment? Why has a police complaint not been filed against the persons perpetuating this fraud and leading to such a huge loss to the Institution and the public exchequer?
No answers were provided. We seek approval of the board yet again in the forthcoming meeting of December 14, when we have already placed our objections on record is outrageous. A detailed independent report on this very serious matter is required. Action must be initiated to recover the funds and to frame charges against those responsible for this fraud.
While the minutes of meeting of October 12, 2018 records that the board “unanimously agreed” to remove Dr Malhan from the office of the superintendent, the fact that he continues there is yet again an indicator of the interference of AMC-MET in the affairs of the independently managed VS Hospitals.
A second instance of corruption recently coming to light is the disappearance of 126 albumin injections in the Department of Gastroenterology Surgery at Chinai Maternity Hospital. Valued at Rs 5 lakh, they were meant to be given free to poor patients. An inquiry was conducted by the matron, the resident medical officer and the casualty medical officer and their report was dated September 24, 2018.
Despite this the superintendent, Dr Malhan, suppressed this report and did not at any stage, inform the board about this incident. At the board meeting of October 12, 2018, the board chairperson and AMC Members said they were unaware of this incident. When we questioned Dr Malhan about this information obtained from our sources, he confirmed this incident but could not explain his role in not informing the VSH board of management to whom he is directly answerable.
A reading of the Inquiry Committee’s report reveals that the Head of Department, Dr Mahendra Bhavsar, has not been questioned in the Inquiry when he is responsible for all matters as Head of Department. The resignation of Dr Malhan, who is responsible for this and several other corruption scandals, was once again demanded by us, but has been ignored.
Yet another seriously worrying trend we see is the move by the present board to hand over prime space in the Sarabhai General and Chinai Hospitals to private agencies bringing in obscure diagnostic services on a contractual basis. We see this as part of a worrying move to undermine medical services in the existing hospitals ,and render them redundant, while transferring staff, equipment and beds to the new Multi-Speciality Hospital to be inaugurated shortly.
Any move to barter away space or resources of an existing trust to an extraneous trust such as AMC-MET is deemed illegal unless it has the sanction of the full board . When half the nine member board has objected in writing to the bartering of the trust’s resources and challenged the move in the Gujarat High Court, the continued defiance of the AMC and its representatives on the VS board requires urgent sanctions through strong public protest and intervention of saner authorities.

Comments

Uma Sheth said…
This in Mody's Ahmedabad!

TRENDING

Allow international human rights observers, media to access Kashmir: US lawmakers

Counterview Desk
In a letter to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, two members of the American Congress, Pramila Jayapal and James McGovern, raising "significant concerns" about what they call "humanitarian and human rights crisis in Jammu & Kashmir”, quoting "credible reports" from journalists and advocates on the ground" have said that "the Indian government has detained thousands of people with no recourse, imposed de facto curfews on residents' and cut off internet and telephone access in the region.”

Rescind Gates Foundation award to Modi, demand three Nobel Peace laureates

Counterview Desk
In a major boost to those opposing the award to the Gates Foundation’s proposed to be awarded to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his Swacch Bharat Abhiyan, three Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Mairead Maguire (1976), Tawakkol Abdel-Salam Karman (2011) and Shirin Ebadi (2003), have in an open letter called upon Milinda and Bill Gates to withdraw their decision, stating Modi is allegedly involved in human rights violations.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Now clampdown on rally, arrest of pro-freedom activists in Pak-occupied Kashmir

Counterview Desk
In a fresh evidence, international human rights organizations are not just confining their attention on the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), whose special status was taken away by the Government of India in early August, leading to an unprecedented clampdown on the region. They have simultaneously begun focusing on the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK), where the situation is said to be worsening.
Thus, the International Human Rights Council ((IHRC) Hong Kong (HK), a top human rights organisation, said to be working towards to the promotion peace, equality, fundamental rights and social justice “as enunciated in the UN Human Rights Charter and other instruments of human rights”, has noted now a new wave of independence movement has struck PoK.  With offices in US, UK, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and having Kirity Roy and Lenin Raghuvanshi as IHRC office bearers from India, in a statement, it has claimed that on September 7 one of the biggest pro-Independenc…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are about 180 units in in the to…

Bullet train impact report Japan agency property: Govt of India tells Gujarat NGO

The National High Speed Rail Corporation Limited (NHSRCL) has told Gujarat-based environmental organization, Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS) that the detailed report of Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA) representatives on their visit to Gujarat and Maharashtra assess the impact of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad bullet train project on farmers is not its property, but that of JICA.

NHSRCL letter to PSS, signed by activists Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant and Swati Desai, comes following the latter’s request to it on June 10 for the report. PSS was one of the NGOs that represented JICA on the project, saying, if implemented, it would adversely impact farmers, even as pointing towards the fact that the project itself is unviable and Indian Railways needs to invest, instead, more on upgrading the present railway infrastructure.
Following the NHSRCL reply, PSS has shot a second letter to JICA, insisting that the latter should share a copy of the report, even as providing details of the …

Karma tribal festival an occasional to campaign for tribal rights: IPMSDL

By Our Representative
The International Indigenous Peoples Movement for Self Determination and Liberation (IPMSDL), in a solidarity statement has suggested that the current Karam festival of Central India -- which seeks to promote sisterhood, friendship, cultural unity, and closer link to nature -- should be the occasion to campaign against alleged efforts to violently drive away forest dwelling communities from their forest homes.
"Millions are threatened to lose lands and livelihood under the implementation of Forest Rights Act (FRA) of 2006", the statement States, adding, "As corporate interests continues to enter tribal territories and extract profit from its natural resources, indigenous people are pushed to further marginalization and discrimination."
Asserting that indigenous movement in India "remains steadfast in keeping their culture, deeply linked to their lands alive by carrying out their heritage and struggles", IPMSDL, even as extending "…

US Air Force expert smells regional security threat following Chandrayaan mission

Counterview Desk
A United States Air Force expert, writing on India’s Chandrayaan -2 mission, has expressed the apprehension that Indian moon probe’s “failure” won’t stop an Asian space race that “threatens regional security.” Affiliated with the US Air Force School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, Wendy Whitman Cobb, who is Professor of Strategy and Security Studies, believes like other space powers, India may be “seeking to improve its technology”, but advances can “also bring greater security concerns.”
Currently, admits Cobb, “These efforts have been primarily civilian and peaceful in nature.” However, India’s turn toward the military uses of space, so much so that lately it has been developing its own military satellites providing services such as remote sensing, tracking and communications “with greater frequency” has begun to “concern” the neighbours.
In her disclosure statement to an article published in the e-journal “The Conversation” Cobb, however, states that whatever…

Historic Chikhalda, temples, mosques submerged, activists 'rescue' Gandhi idol

By Medha Patkar
The first farmer of Asia was born in Chikhalda, if one is to believe archaeological researchers. A historic village, 50 percent of its population is of Hindus and 50 percent of Muslims, yet it has always remained peaceful. Chikhalda has struggled to save water, land and people along Narmada river.

South Gujarat wastewater carrying pipeline damaged, 'harming' farmlands

By Our Representative
The pipeline carrying industrial wastewater to the Gulf of Khambhat from Jhagadia industrial estate in Bharuch district has been found to have damaged for the eighth time over the last one and a half months. The crack, says a local environmental organisation, has occurred at Hansot, endangering agricultural farms.