Skip to main content

Politician-babu coterie 'running' Sardar Patel-founded Ahmedabad hospital amidst Covid

By Rupa Chinai*
The determined effort of the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) to run the public-charitable Chinai Maternity and Sarabhai General Hospitals to the ground and kill these institutions has surpassed all limits of irresponsibility. 
On June 22, 2020 a pregnant woman, age 28, and her two unborn babies were brought to Chinai Maternity Hospital by a 108 Ambulance service. Handling pregnancy related emergencies such as eclampsia (a common complication of pregnancy) is a routine part of the services offered in a maternity hospital. Junior MBBS doctors who are running the emergency services directed the patient to another hospital and both the woman and her unborn babies died before they could get help.
Around the same time, in another similar incident the AMC turned upon the Trust run 300 bed Rajasthan Hospital in Ahmedabad and fined them Rs 77 lakh for the alleged death of a Covid patient due to denial of treatment at the hospital.
The question we have to ask the AMC Commissioner is why should he not be paying a penalty for what he and the Corporation is doing to patients at Vadilal Sarabhai Hospital (VSH) when the circumstances of denial of services are exactly similar?
We also ask the AMC Commissioner and its representatives on the VSH Board where have the permanent and experienced staff employed by the VSH Board of Management gone? Who authorised their transfer out of the hospital and who permitted the closure of specialist services at these institutions? None of these been passed by the VSH Board and neither has it permitted the contracted junior doctors to take charge of services.
When the Gujarat High Court recently asked the AMC to open services at VSH for Covid patients, the AMC stand was that facilities here are needed for non-Covid patients. However, to date there has been no attempt to fulfill that commitment and thus should not the Commissioner be held in contempt of Court for abdication of responsibility in the time of acute crisis?
It is such irresponsible actions arbitrarily taken by the AMC Commissioner and AMC representatives on the VSH Board, that has brought disrepute to these venerable institutions, established in 1930 by Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel. It is causing us, the donor family representatives on the VSH Board to hang our heads in shame and helplesness.
Since 2012 the VSH and its independent Board of Management* have been held to ransom and undermined by a coterie connected to the AMC-Medical Education Trust (MET – politicians, bureaucrats and persons connected to the ruling party). They have lost no opportunity to bypass the functioning of the independent Board of Management, while successive AMC corporations and the Board Chairpersons have been mute witnesses or played a partisan role.
During the time of Covid crisis, one notes with dismay that AMC is making no attempt to reopen and augment 1,155 beds at VSH
Reports in Ahmedabad’s Gujarati press of July 21, 2020 have highlighted the move towards contractual appointments being made at VSH. Our consistent stand has been that all permanent staff appointed by the VSH Board of Management, who have been illegally transferred to other institutions, must be reinstated at their earlier posts in VSH.
Secondly, AMC-MET must have no role in appointing staff or interfering in any other administration matter, as this falls is the sole jurisdiction of the VSH Board of Management. We believe that underpaid contractual employees adversely affect the morale of our health staff and efficiency of the hospital’s functioning. Our 90 years of partnering with our permanent staff at all levels has demonstrated a sense of belonging, ownership and service that contributed to the golden years of VSH’s reputation.
Over the past nine years we have repeatedly pointed to the scams and administration chaos being perpetuated at the behest of AMC-MET and its appointees at the VSH. This includes the mismanagement of the employees Provident Fund resulting in Rs.8 crore penalty by the Provident Fund Commissioner, where the Board is being asked to take a loan towards its payment, leading to further misutilisation of public money.
Another instance of obfuscation of accountability is the appointment of private auditors who never provide accounts to the Board but the latter is repeatedly asked to clear it. This despite half the Board, composed of its independent members, opposing the appointment of private agencies and demanding that accounts be handled by AMC auditors, as done previously.
The duplicate patient receipt book scam, the fake injection scandal are some other incidents, representing only a tip of the corruption iceberg. These instances are not mere allegations but acknowledged facts in Board room discussions, but with no follow up action on stemming the rot and milking dry of public institutions.
During this time of the Covid crisis, one notes with dismay that the AMC is making no attempt to reopen and augment the 1,155 beds at VSH. We are at a loss to understand AMC resistance to this plea repeatedly made by us and backed by the Gujarat High Court. That too, when it is well recognised that increased access to oxygen connected hospital beds is the only means available in bringing down the Covid death toll.
---
*On behalf of Brijesh Chinai, Jay Sheth, Dr. Nishith Shah, board members, Chinai Maternity, Sarabhai General Hospitals, Ahmedabad

Comments

Sharad Shah said…
Sad to see a great institution getting such stepmotherly treatment.

TRENDING

HSBC shareholders seek exit from funding Adani's 'contentious' Australian coalmine

By Our Representative  In a move that may embarrass India's top business house known to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, shareholders of HSBC, a British multinational investment bank, the largest in Europe with total assets of US$2.715 trillion, are likely to decide at its AGM on May 28, 2021 a plan to exit coal financing related to the Adani Group, as it begins digging the Carmichael mega coal mine in Australia, reports Melbourne-based South Asia Times.

Gross 'injustice' to children: Rs 5000 cr cut in education budget; 15 lakh schools shut down

Counterview Desk  More than 100 dignitaries, including educationists, academia, social activists, teachers’ union, civil society organisations (CSOs), various networks and people working on child rights, in a letter to Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman have sought reversal of reduction in allocation for education in the Union Budget 2021-22, even as demanding substantial increase in it.

Communal rhetoric? Hindutva preached by RSS-BJP is 'monolithic', not Hinduism

By Prem Verma*  I am a devout Hindu but not a believer of RSS Hindutva form of Hinduism which brings about hatred of other religions. My Hindu religion has not taught me to look down on other religions and neither has it instilled in me to go about converting others to my religion because my religion is superior.

Buddhist shrines massively destroyed by Brahmanical rulers in "pre-Islamic" era: Historian DN Jha's survey

Nalanda mahavihara By Our Representative Prominent historian DN Jha, an expert in India's ancient and medieval past, in his new book , "Against the Grain: Notes on Identity, Intolerance and History", in a sharp critique of "Hindutva ideologues", who look at the ancient period of Indian history as "a golden age marked by social harmony, devoid of any religious violence", has said, "Demolition and desecration of rival religious establishments, and the appropriation of their idols, was not uncommon in India before the advent of Islam".

Ciminalising 'tool' created, name: Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020

By Varsha Bhagat-Ganguly, Rejitha Nair* The year 2021 in Gujarat opened its account with 647 alleged land grabbing cases under investigation, 16 FIRs filed against 34 land grabbers within 35 days of Gujarat Land Grabbing Prohibition Act 2020 (GLGPA), as informed by the Additional Chief Secretary (Home), Gujarat State, in a press conference on January 22, 2021. He further informed that of 647 alleged cases, 605 applications of land grabbing were received by different collectors who have initiated suo moto proceedings in 42 cases. The total land in these cases is estimated to be around 1.35 lakh square metre, worth Rs 220 crore as per jantri rates (ready reckoner of land prices in different parts of the state). By March 15, 2021, at least six even cases are before the Gujarat High Court. Of about 11 cases reported in the daily newspapers, in three cases, grabbing of government land is charged, and the rest are land disputes between two individuals. The promptness of the district collect

Swami Vivekananda's views on caste and sexuality were 'painfully' regressive

By Bhaskar Sur* Swami Vivekananda now belongs more to the modern Hindu mythology than reality. It makes a daunting job to discover the real human being who knew unemployment, humiliation of losing a teaching job for 'incompetence', longed in vain for the bliss of a happy conjugal life only to suffer the consequent frustration.

RSS love for 'killer' Myanmar junta behind Indian military presence at Tatmadaw Day?

By Shamsul Islam*  If a shameful act means an action which is criminal and nauseating, it would be an understatement to describe the attitude of the present RSS-BJP rulers of India towards the demolition of democracy and large-scale killing of the people of Myanmar by the military ( tatmadaw ) junta which took power through a coup on February 1, 2021 after renegading the election results in which the party of Aung San Suu Kyi, National League for Democracy, was a clear winner.

Chhattisgarh’s Apra riverfront imitates Sabarmati: 'Devaluing' water, environment

Sabarmati riverfront By Mansee Bal Bhargava*  This year’s #WorldWaterDay (March 22) focus was on ‘Valuing Water’. My school friend, Pragati Tiwari from Bilaspur, Chhattisgarh, called that day knowing my interest in water matters. We were remembering our childhood days as how we used to play on the banks and the bed of the Arpa Nadi (River) during the summer holidays and as how the river would swell like Anaconda to flow happily during the monsoon.

Bihar massacre on Holi day: Brahminical, casteist mindset behind 'uneasy' silence

Bihar chief minister Nitish Kumar By Vidya Bhushan Rawat*  Several people were killed in Bihar amidst Holi festivities, but not much response has come in from the media. The silence of the government and the society as a whole is also appalling. We seek to romanticise these festivals, yet we forget that every year they take so many lives. This despite the fact that Holi appears to be the best time for 'avenging things'.

India's draft migrants policy: Whither concern on job restrictions imposed by states?

By Anil Kumar*  India’s Niti Aayog has prepared a Draft Migration Policy. The draft policy acknowledges migration as an integral part of development, and it calls for positive government interventions that facilitate internal migration. With a rights-based solution to migration, the draft states that the policy should “enhance the agency and capability of the community and thereby remove aspects that come in the way of an individual’s own natural ability to thrive”.