After several private organisations violated terms of contract and owe it amounts to the tune of Rs 3 crore, the BMC has now come out with a new policy for municipal structures given on Public Private Partnership (PPP) basis. This policy was formed after a High Court order. The civic body has made it clear that those who have violated the terms and yet want to continue to occupy the structure, will have to pay rent as per market rate from the very beginning. This effectively means the private organisations will not get any benefit. The move comes after several prominent organisations violated terms of the agreement with the BMC and later moved court.
The BMC, in 2004, entered into agreements with several private healthcare organisations under a PPP model. In most cases, they were given municipal maternity homes to be operated by them. The rules were clear: the private party would have to pay a nominal rent of Re 1 but they would have to pay property tax, water, electricity bill etc. Also, they were not allowed to make any other use of the structure apart from the stipulated one. No additions/alterations to the structure were allowed. But the BMC soon started noticing violations of the terms and sent show-cause notices to several of them.
mid-day had reported on March 28 how Dhirubhai Ambani Memorial Trust, which used to run a geriatric care centre at Girgaum, had not paid dues worth Rs 2 crore. A trust official had responded by saying that the matter is being looked into by their legal department. The centre was shut down last year and is with the BMC.
Health committee member Ashwin Vyas, who had written to the municipal commissioner in the matter in December, said, “It is not just one organisation. More than 10-15 organisations like the Muslim Ambulance Society, Noble Medical Centre (Mulund), Surana Charitable Trust (Malad) have long pending dues.” Most structures are properties worth crores.
A senior public health department official confirmed that these organisations had violations and dues but could not tell how much.
What happens now
Now 12 organisations have moved court against the BMC notices. Besides, there is a PIL that is being heard simultaneously in the matter, with a final hearing on April 20. “We have submitted a new policy in the court that will now govern how agreements are entered into,” said Sanjay Deshmukh, additional municipal commissioner in-charge.
According to the new policy, for PPP partners who have violated the terms and conditions of the lease/caretaker agreement, and where the lease period is not over, the lease shall be terminated for breach of agreement, unless they pay standard rent for the premises allotted to them as per state government rates. Every other case where the lease is over, the BMC will take back the structures and invite bids for them. All new contracts will now go a through bidding process.
What is important is, 40% patients at the centres run on PPP basis, in each category such as surgical/medical etc will have to be treated at corporation rates. This means common people will be able to access good quality healthcare. “This policy has been submitted in court. If the organisations find it unacceptable, they are free to complete their tenure and leave. But if they have violations, they will definitely have to pay retrospective rent. People can’t just dupe the BMC and walk away,” the official said.