Doctors say the dues, varying from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 47 lakh, are being levied despite the monthly deduction of 30 per cent from their basic salaries for Home Rent Allowance
An ultimatum has been issued to four doctors residing at the Grant Medical College RMO (Resident Medical Officer) quarters, asking them to either pay dues running into lakhs of rupees for the place, or leave.
Dr Vaman Gaikwad, who has been asked to pay a penalty of Rs 47 lakh, shows the eviction notice he received for the quarters on the JJ campus. Pic/Sayyed Samir Abedi
The dues varying from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 47 lakh, according to the doctors, are being levied despite the monthly deduction of 30 per cent from their basic salary towards home rent allowance (HRA).
The doctors who have received the eviction notice are fighting the matter before the Deputy Collector (Eviction) office at Old Custom House, and it is slated to come up for hearing on April 5.
The dean of JJ Group of Hospitals claims that as the Medical Education department and Public Health department (PHD) were separated under two different ministries, these doctors attached to the PHD should vacate the official quarters in JJ campus. However, the doctors feel that as per a government resolution in 2011 they are entitled to government quarters, if they are attached to any government-run institute.
Doctors cite GR
Those who have received the eviction notice include Dr Vaman Gaikwad, who has been staying at the RMO quarters since 1999. In August 2005, he was shifted to the Postmortem Centre under the police surgeon, and owes over Rs 47 lakh as penalty since the past 11 years, for residing in an approximately 700-sq ft two-bed room quarters.
Other doctors include Dr Amar Rathod, who is presently attached as Medical Officer to the City Civil and Sessions Court, Dr Nilesh Londhe attached to Cama Hospital, and Dr Azarkhan Pathan attached to the Public Health Centre, Malwani. They owe Rs 17 lakh, Rs 10 lakh and Rs 15 lakh respectively.
These doctors said they will vacate their quarters, provided they get alternative quarters within the JJ campus. They cited a government resolution of June 2011, stating that the government has categorically said that they are entitled to government quarters, if they are attached to any government-run dispensary, hospital or public health centre within Mumbai.
Penalty of Rs 47 lakh
As per the notice (mid-day has a copy) received by Dr Gaikwad, he was supposed to surrender the quarters within three months after he was transferred to the police hospital, Nagpada, from JJ Hospital as RMO, since March 7, 2005. However he failed to vacate it, and a Rs 50 per sq feet penalty was applicable to him for the period, which till date has crossed over Rs 47 lakh.
Dr Gaikwad said, “My two daughters are studying in South Mumbai colleges, I have asked for alternative accommodation in the campus. How can I afford to pay Rs 47 lakh, when HRA of 30 per cent has been deducted every month from my salary?”
Another doctor added, “We are part of the emergency medical care unit, but here even staffers of non-emergency units like Anatomy, Physiotherapy, etc are given quarters. Even those who have personal accommodation within Mumbai, have been given quarters within JJ. If these people are asked to vacate first, then rooms will be available to accommodate those on the waiting list.”
However, Dr T P Lahane, the dean of JJ Group of Hospitals and Grant Medical College clarified that as per the Medical Education norms, all the staff attached to the institution should stay within the campus quarters, and this has nothing to do with emergency service staff, as claimed by the doctor.
Police Surgeon Dr S M Patil, under whom Dr Gaikwad works, said, “Dr Gaikwad is a public servant under the Maharashtra government. He should either be allowed to stay in the same quarters or different quarters should be allotted to him.”
Dr Lahane rubbished the claims made by the doctors. He said, “In the year 2002, the Medical Education department and Public Health department were separated, and since residential quarters within the campus are to be allocated to the teaching and non-teaching staffers of the institution, priority is given to them. The doctors who are attached to Public Health Department, and staying in the campus, could have applied under the General Administration quota for quarters outside the campus.”
He added, “At present we have 10 class 1 officers and 20 class 2 staffers attached to Grant Medical College, who are awaiting quarters within the campus.”
When asked about the 30 per cent HRA that is being deducted, Lahane said, “Only 12 per cent is being deducted from the salary towards HRA from their basic pay. A deduction of 30 per cent of basic salary is applicable only when they stay in an apartment which is not owned by the government.”
However, one of the doctors clarified, “A payment of 30 per cent gets deducted under the Public Health Department, to which we are associated. The 12 per cent deduction is only for those attached to Medical Education Department.”