Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Govt hospitals spend king’s ransom on water

Govt hospitals spend king’s ransom on water
Victoria Hospital with a bed-strength of 550 is spending a mind-boggling amount Rs 38 lakh every month towards its water bill. Similarly the Bowring Hospital with a bed strength of 800 is paying Rs 31 lakh towards water charges every month to Bangalore Water Supply and Sewerage Board (BWSSB).

Compare these figures with the amounts spent on medicine by these hospitals — while the Victoria Hospital spends Rs 35 lakh per month, the monthly medicine bill for Bowring Hospital is about Rs 30 lakh.

On the contrary, it is learnt that Apollo Hospital, which has a bed strength of 250, is paying Rs 4.5 lakh to Rs 5 lakh per month.

These shocking statistics came to light on Tuesday during the hearing of a petition on setting up of Effluent Treatment Plants (ETP) on government and private hospital premises by the Lok Adalat.

Lok Adalat Chairman K L Manjunath was astonished on learning from the superintendents of the two government hospitals about the whopping amounts they spend on water. He questioned an officer of the BWSSB, “How can such big amounts be collected from the hospitals as water bill? How much water is consumed by patients in the hospitals?” The BWSSB officer had no satisfactory answers.

An officer of Victoria hospital replied that the BWSSB charged them a commercial slab as their bed strength is 550. “On an average a patient consumes around 250 litres of water per day. The bill also includes the water consumed by the staff in the quarters,” the officer said.

Disapproving the statistics given by the officer, the Chairman directed the BWSSB to lay new water pipes to both hospitals and install separate meters for the hospitals and staff quarters. The Chairman also directed the BWSSB to keep a vigil on whether the residents of nearby areas are illegally drawing water from these hospitals. Interestingly, officers of Victoria hospital said that the hospital was spending Rs 30 lakh on medicine expenses per month for its patients.

“If the water bill is reduced, we can divert the money to poor patients,” they added.

Justice Manjunath also suggested that the BWSSB can reduce its water bills to government hospitals.

The Chairman directed the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) to close down private hospitals in the city which have failed to set up biomedical waste treatment plants on their premises.

The Chairman pulled up an officer of KSPCB for not taking action against the private hospitals which have not set up ETPs on their premises.

The officer submitted that the Chinmaya Hospital, Krishnadevaraya Hospital in Hunasemaranahalli, B R Ambedkar Hospital, Bhagavan Mahaveer Jain Hospital, Church of South India Hospital, KIMS Hospital and HAL Hospital have not set up the ETPs.

“Nine private hospitals in the city have not set up the treatment plants.

four months time has been granted to them to set up the same,” said the officer.

The government hospitals took an undertaking before the Lok Adalat that they would set up the ETPs by the end of May, 2009.

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