Were you hoping for a new hospital or state-of-the-art clinic near your home?
You may have to wait till the all-important issue of how to dispose of bio-medical waste (BMW) is settled.
The Bombay High Court on Thursday restrained the BMC and Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) from granting permission to set up pathological laboratories, clinics, nursing homes, hospitals or any other institutions that generate BMW till further orders.
The negligence on part of hospitals and medical institutions in following BMW rules was highlighted in a petition filed in 2007 by NGO Consumer Welfare Association, which sought action against institutions flouting BMW norms as it poses serious health hazards.
A division bench of Chief Justice Swatanter Kumar and Justice D.Y. Chandrachud restrained the BMC and MPCB from processing any application seeking setting up of any sort of institution that would generate BMW, till the issue of its disposal is sorted out.
Rajiv Chavan, counsel for the NGO, told the court that the MPCB had identified 12,719 new medical establishments that had come up in the state (outside Mumbai) which were not following BMW rules.
Srihari Aney, counsel for the MPCB, informed the court that they had finished surveys in eight of the state’s 11 regions. The high court had in September directed the board to survey all private medical centres such as pathological labs and small clinics, which are not covered under the BMC Act, to find out if they were following BMW rules.
The MPCB has outsourced surveying the remaining three regions due to insufficient manpower. Survey in one region had been completed and the other two would be completed in a month, said Aney.
“The government has sanctioned additional funds for setting up BMW disposal systems. The same would be set up soon in Buldhana, Osmanabad, Yavatmal and Hingoli,” he said.