The decision to cancel the contract signed between the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Aundh Institute of Medical Sciences (AIMS) Hospital was forwarded to the civic administration for reconsideration by the PMC Standing Committee yesterday.
The charges levelled against AIMS were that it was not providing medical treatment to patients below the poverty line despite having an agreement with PMC. The Standing committee was sitting on the issue of reconsideration of the agreement, made by the civic body with AIMS in 2003, since last one month.
“We have unanimously taken the decision to send back the proposal of agreement to the civic body administration, and have asked them to answer in the next 15 days,” said Baburao Chandere, chairman, PMC Standing committee. He also ruled out the possibility of any pressure or providing protection to the AIMS Hospital. “This is a crucial issue and therefore we want the opinion from the PMC administration to take a final decision on the issue,” he said.
Angered by the development, the Republic Party of India (RPI) conducted a morcha, protesting against the Standing committee’s decision at the PMC building yesterday.
Reacting to the committee’s decision, RPI leader and PMC corporator Dr Siddharth Dhende, who organised the morcha, said, “AIMS Hospital is violating the contract with PMC by not treating poor patients. We were expecting a firm decision from Chandere and the committee about terminating the agreement with AIMS.
“We now fear that the committee is favouring the hospital by putting the decision on hold without giving any valid reasons,” said Dhende. “The hospital construction is illegal and the top three floors have been constructed without any permission from PMC’s Building and Permission department. Even former Deputy CM Ajit Pawar avoided inaugurating the first phase of the hospital, which was scheduled last month.”
Ajit Abhyankar, CPIM, district committee member, said, “We wanted this contract to be cancelled. PMC and the state government, in a way, are allowing private hospitals to earn money from treating poor patients.”
Neelam Kulkarni from MNS, who is member of Standing committee, said, “We are not in favour of AIMS and its stand of not providing medical treatment to the poor. We had also urged the committee to review the AIMS contract with other nine private hospitals in the city.”
In 2003, PMC had got in to an agreement with AIMS and had decided that 10 per cent beds would be reserved for poor patients. Patients would qualify for 50 per cent concession on medical bills based on the income criteria.
This is the first multi-specialty hospital launched under public-private partnership; the 300-bed hospital would be developed in two phases. The first phase of 100-bed hospital will have cardiac cathlab, ICU, operation theatre, IVF facilities, blood bank and diagnostic lab. The hospital will also have cardiology gynaecology, laparoscopy, orthopaedics, joint replacement centre, trauma centre, paediatrics and neonatology departments.