The BMC’s healthcare system has crippled as the tendering process of essential medical supplies and amenities for its hospitals is pending for the past one year due to the administration’s negligence, former Congress corporator Ashraf Azmi has alleged.
Congress corporators raise issue
Along with Azmi, addressing the media on the issue of BMC hospitals on Tuesday were former Congress corporators Sufian Vanu, Mohsin Haider, Asif Zakaria, Virendra Chaudhary, Sheetal Mhatre, and Ajanta Yadav. The Free Press Journal tried to reach out to assistant municipal commissioner Sudhakar Shinde but received no comment.
Supply of basic amenities crippled
Azmi said that the BMC has implemented a prescription-less policy but there has been no procurement from the central purchasing department affecting lakhs of people. He also alleged that the supply of basic amenities in hospitals, such as milk and food supplies, has also been crippled due to the administration’s laxity.
The Congress leader alleged that no drug has been scheduled through the central procurement authority, and the dean and medical officers end up buying essential medicines at higher rates from the open market everyday. “Moreover, every hospital is purchasing milk and food at different rates and under different conditions,” the corporations claimed.
Renovation underway since 5 years
In 2018, the municipality undertook the renovation of MT Agarwal Hospital, Shatabdi Hospital in Govandi, and Bhagwati Hospital in Borivali. Even after five years, these hospitals have not been renovated, as per the Congress corporators. They said that this year the administrators approved the purchase of life-saving endoscopic ultrasound medical equipment for KEM Hospital in Parel but the tender holder decided to cancel it. “The same goes for the supply of life-saving injections. The BMC is neglecting many such problems concerning citizens,” they said.
Former Corporators demand action
The former corporators have demanded strict action against officials who are cancelling contracts even after approval of the BMC administrator, and have sought the sacking of officials who do not finalise the tenders. Notably, the BMC had floated a tender for supply of medicines to municipal hospitals. However, only one or two suppliers responded to this tender. Most companies turned their backs on this tender process as the BMC has still to clear 20% of dues owed to the vendors, the corporators said.
However, a senior official from the public health department said, “For the first time in the history of the health department, we have got clear instructions from the Chief Minister Eknath Shinde on buying additional medicines and other amenities for which we are spending additional Rs500-Rs1000 crore.”