Political scenario in the Ujjain is increasingly turning murkier as the people’s representatives are now conspicuously divided amid what the unstoppable deaths of Covid-19 patients at RD Gardi Medical College (RDGMC) and rising demands to clip the feathers of its highly controversial trustees.
Situation has become so peculiar that a Member of Parliament (MP) Anil Firojia, who sought complete takeover of RDGMC by the State government, has been sidelined by his own colleagues in BJP including two powerful Ujjain MLAs Paras Jain and Mohan Yadav.
Efforts to suppress the issue
During at least two meetings of the District Crisis Management Group, held in first fortnight of May, which saw participation of people’s representatives of BJP and its top functionaries and the officials of district administration, the issue of mess in RDGMC was intentionally suppressed.
As already reported in Free Press, a verbal duel occurred between the MP and MLAs during first such meeting. MLAs at that time were favouring purchase of kirana items from their favoured traders whereas MP wanted that the whole focus of the authorities concerned should be on fixing the issues at RDGMC.
In the second meeting which was held recently, the situation turned ugly, again, as the MP reportedly stood-up from his chair to boycott the meeting. This video conference was conducted by the health minister Narottam Mishra and chief secretary Iqbal Singh Bains from Bhopal.
As per reports, Firojia got irked as MLA Jain told the minister that everything is normal and satisfactory at the RDGMC, now. Consequently, Firojia rebuked Jain and said, “If you want to cover the mess at RDGMC by presenting such misleading picture I won’t participate futher in the meeting.”
Firojia even asked the veteran MLA as to why he is continuously taking side of RDGMC amid the Covid-19 pandemic whereas people are constantly complaining about the mismanagement which is prevailing there. According to a source who attended the meeting other participants have to intervene to pacify the MP and the MLA to prevent their verbal spat from turning uglier.
During last fortnight mortality rate due to Covid-19 in Ujjain has attracted attention of the health experts from across the country. In Madhya Pradesh, the situation in Ujjain has left Shivraj Singh Chouhan government red-faced. In the wake of unabated deaths Ujjain collector Shashank Mishra issued a show cause notice to RDGMC, warning to cancel its licence. However, he was shunted out unceremoniously. SP Sachin Atulkar, was also shifted over-night for his alleged incompetence to enforce complete lockdown effectively. Lastly, CMHO Dr Anusuiyya Gawli Sinha was also made scapegoat and was replaced by Mahaveer Khandelwal.
In the interim
Meanwhile, 100-beds were reserved for Ujjain’s patients at Aurobindo Hospital in Indore. This was done even when, RDGMC was already assigned a contract at the rate of about Rs 4 crore per month to treat the serious Covid-19 patients at its 800-bed hospital. A central oxygen supply system was installed at the Madhav Nagar Hospital where Covid-19 suspect patients are being admitted despite protest from Firojia. He pleaded that as this hospital is surrounded by residential areas of Freeganj, and admitting Covid-19 patients there may lead to community spread. He demanded that private hospitals located in non-residential areas should be earmarked for treating corona patients.
But again, his concerns were ignored and again whims of an MLA which aimed to protect the interests of a private hospital prevailed. The MP then, took the matter to the central leadership which resulted in visit of a two-member Central team. The team comprising health experts assessed the reasons for a high mortality rate of 22 per cent of Covid-19 deaths in Ujjain district.
The report of the committee got leaked much to the chagrin of the said MP. He raised objections over the contention of the report that the reason for such a high death rate is because the patients were taken to the RDGMC quite late.
However, he maintains that the committee was to submit its report to the Union Ministry of Health and he is not aware about any of its contents.
Now, MP Anil Firojia has written to the Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to apprise him about the irregularities, continuous disregard for the government orders and other instances of bungling by the trustees of RDGMC.
Prevailing muddle in the healthcare has resulted in avoidable deaths due to coronavirus. High death rate in Ujjain has become a concern of healthcare from across the nation. Locals are afraid and patients and suspects are openly denying getting treatment at RDGMC. Its management is incompetent and, thus, it will be in the larger interests of public health that the government should take its possession and manage it through health department the MP stated in his letter.
According to political experts, huge pressure is being exerted on Firojia to not rake the issue further. Functionaries of city BJP and both the MLAs of the party have also distanced themselves from this issue. According to observers both the MLAs are lobbying hard to get a berth in the ensuing expansion of Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s cabinet. All in all the BJP MP has been left high and dry by his own party.