Thursday, June 25, 2009

Day after: Chaos, blame game on, but no closure

Day after: Chaos, blame game on, but no closure
Day after: Chaos, blame game on, but no closure

Express News Service
First Published : 20 Jun 2009 07:13:56 AM IST
Last Updated : 20 Jun 2009 11:23:35 AM IST

BANGALORE: A day after the Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) slapped a closure notice on nine government hospitals, seven hospitals are yet to receive formal closure orders for not complying with the Effluent Treatment Plan (ETP) norms.

Meanwhile, heads of Health and Family Welfare and the Medical Education departments are likely to meet on Saturday to find a way out of the situation.

On thursday the KSPCB had said that the nine government hospitals that had defaulted on the deadline for setting up of the ETPs have been ordered to close down within 15 days. The KSPCB had said and they shall stop admitting patients with immediate effect.

The nine hospitals are KC General hospital, General hospital,Jayanagar, Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital, Minto Eye hospital, Vanivilas Hospital, Victoria Hospital and Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Hajee Sir Ismail Sait Gousia hospital, SDS TB Rajiv Gandhi Institute of Chest Diseases.

So far only authorities in Jayanagar General hospital and Victoria hospital confirmed receiving a copy of the KSPCB’s order, while all the others claimed that they had received no formal communication in the matter.

“How can we stop the admission of the patients without the written formal letter by the pollution board,” said Dr Satish Chandra, Medical superintendent of Bowring and Lady Curzon hospital.

Just like any other day

Meanwhile, it was business as usual at all the defaulting hospitals. “Neither can we stop the entry of the patients into the hospital nor could we deny them the treatment," said Dr BG Tilak, Medical superintendent, Victoria hospital. Dr Ashok Shenoy, Medical Superintendent of Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology told Express, “I myself operated on a few patients today. Our services continue.” So far none of the hospitals have started making alternative arrangements for inpatients in the event of a closure.

Elections and the blame game

Authorities in all the hospitals blame the recently concluded Lok Sabha polls as the reason behind the delay in setting up of ETPs. They contend that while the tender process was started, it had to be stopped when the model code of conduct was in force. Also, the involvement of multiple agencies like the BWSSB, PWD, Pollution Control Board made the decision making process a long drawn one.

High cost

Cost of setting up an ETP and the ageing structures that house some of the defaulting hospitals are factors that cannot be overlooked.

Bangalore Medical College and Research Institute Dean and Director G T Subhash said that the bids received in the case of Victoria and Bowring and Lady Curzon hospitals were in the order of Rs 10 crore to Rs 12 crore. Setting up ETPs in these hospitals will also entail the replacement of old and worn out water supply and UGD lines, thereby increasing the cost.

Legal Expert speak

``The closure order for the common establishment which does not cater to large section of the society could be adhered but for the such big government hospitals which treat hundreds of patients would be difficult,’’ said, BV Acharaya, former advocate general.

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