The Mira-Bhayander Municipal Corporation on Friday ordered the shutdown of a nursing home in Mira Road after an RTI application revealed that its registration had expired. Janak Hospital’s registration under the Bombay Nursing Home Registration Act, 1949 had expired on March 31 and had not been renewed since.
The issue was brought to light after the nursing home’s staff members approached NGO Helping Hands Foundation on March 22¸ claiming they had not been paid their salaries in full since their joining. On February 27, with the NGO’s support, the staffers - four nurses and one doctor - filed a non-cognisable complaint against the medical director of Janak Hospital, Dr Rakesh R Vishwakarma.
“The hospital staff had repeatedly approached Dr Vishwakarma, asking him for their salaries but he would keep offering excuses and tell them to come back later,” said Leera Nanavati, secretary of Helping Hands Foundation. “Other than that, I was informed that under-qualified people were appointed as nurses in the hospital without completing the required paperwork. I suspected something amiss and filed an RTI on March 12,” said Nanavati.
The RTI reply (copy with MiD DAY) clearly stated that the certificate of registration under the act, which authorised Dr Vishwakarma to run the nursing home, was valid only up to March 31, 2012. Nanavati then approached the civic authorities of the Mira-Bhayandar Municipal Corporation (MBMC).
On April 1, the civic body sent a notice to Dr Vishwakarma, stating that he would be given a month’s time by the MBMC to explain why he did not renew his registration, failing which he would be forced to shut down his hospital. Exactly a month later, MBMC mayor Catlin Pereira ordered that Janak Hospital be shut down as its director had failed to come up with an explanation. “As the nursing home’s registration was not renewed, we were forced to shut Janak Hospital until further notice,” said Pereira.
Speaking to MiD DAY, one of the nurses, Priyanka Patil (25), said, “I joined the nursing home in November and was told that I would be paid Rs 7,500 per month. I quit by the end of February as I was paid only Rs 3,500 for all the months that I had worked there.” “There are four more nurses like me who got fed up and left the job because they were not given their salaries for months together. Every time we approach Dr Rakesh demanding our salaries, he uses abusive language and tells us to leave,” added Patil.
Another former employee of the hospital Dr Bakelal Mourya claims that he is yet to receive around Rs 87,000, he had not been given his salary in full for the last one year. “I used to work double shifts at the hospital. A year ago, my salary was raised to Rs 15,000 but I was paid only Rs 2,000 to Rs 5,000 per month,” said Dr Mourya.
The other side
Dr Rakesh Vishwakarma, director of Janak Hospital, said, “I had received a letter from the civic body which directed me to explain within a month’s time why I did not renew my nursing home’s registration. However, I was busy for the last two months with the hospital’s renovation. Anyway, we were barely functioning since December as the hospital building was in a bad state.”
He denied the former hospital staff’s allegations about unpaid salaries. “Most of the nursing home staff had left without any notice by September. I’d repeatedly warned them about their bad conduct as they would report to work late. One of them had even spoiled the cardiac monitor in the ICU. I was shocked to know that they had complained to the police even after I paid them their salaries,” he said.