Noting that the Constitution of India protects every citizen’s right to seek good and affordable healthcare, the Bombay High Court has expressed displeasure over apathy shown by the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC) over non-completion of 100-bedded hospital at Kausa in Mumbra, which was conceived in 2008.
“.. Till date neither construction of the hospital is complete nor has it become functional. There cannot be any justification for such unexplained and inordinate delay in completion of a project concerning healthcare of the general public,” said a division bench of Chief Justice DK Upadhayaya and Justice Arif Doctor.
The court has appointed a Commission comprising a doctor, a civil engineer and a lawyer to ascertain the actual position on the spot and to inspect the building and submit a report.
The HC was hearing a public interest litigation filed by a Delhi based NGO Association For Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) highlighting the delay in the construction of the hospital.
The TMC in September 2008 had reserved a 8,500 sq m plot for a 100 bed hospital. Work order was issued in August 2014 and construction was to complete within 24 months excluding monsoon. However the construction is not completed and its cost has escalated from Rs10 crore to Rs54.38 crore.
After the work order was issued on August 27, 2014, the scope of the work was enhanced to include certain other constructions such as TB Ward, Kitchen, Canteen, Pathology, Blood Bank, Pediatric Ward, OTPT, C Section OT, Morgue, Kitchen Gas Bank, Medical Gas Bank, Sub-station and underground Tank.
The corporation had admitted in its affidavit that the residents of Kausa do not have access to medical facilities and the proposed 100-bedded hospital will give them access to proper healthcare facilities. “Once this fact has been acknowledged by the Corporation, it is difficult to comprehend as to why construction and making the hospital functional has been pending for so long period,” the bench added.
Recently, the TMC contended that certain work was completed and sanction has been granted for recruitment of doctors and other staff and the recruitment is likely to take place. It also contended that OPD, Gynecology and Administrative departments have been started by using the existing staff.
However, the NGO opposed the contention stating that the corporation has shifted one of its Primary Health Centres to the hospital building and it has, thus, wrongly claimed that the Gynecology department has started functioning.
Hence, the HC appointed a commission to ascertain the facts and submit a report.
The TMC has also been asked to file an affidavit explaining steps taken for procurement of equipment and recruitment of adequate staff. It has also been asked to indicate the “minimum possible time” within which “the hospital can be made fully functional” and the details of phases in which the medical facilities/departments shall commence.