The Urban Development Ministry , DDA and Delhi Government have all been lambasted by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament for their dismal failure to take action against private hospitals in the Capital that have defaulted in providing free treatment to poor as a condition for getting concessional land for their buildings.
The PAC has also taken serious note of the government's failure to fix responsibility on the erring DDA officials who committed the irregularity of not including the mandatory terms and conditions of free treatment while issuing allotment letters to private parties who set up the hospitals.
In its report on the action taken by the government on its previous recommendations in this regard, which was tabled in both houses of parliament on Thursday, the PAC recommended an enquiry by a high-level independent agency to find out the circumstances under which these irregularities were committed and punishment for the guilty DDA officials.
The terms and conditions for allotment of prime land worth hundreds of crores at concessional rates to private hospitals stipulate that they must provide free treatment to 25 per cent of total indoor patients and 40 per cent in the outpatients department (OPD).Many hospitals were found to be violating this condition with active connivance of DDA and Delhi Government officials.
The PAC, with south Delhi MP Vijay Kumar Malhotra as its Chairman, expressed dismay over the fact that no follow-up action was taken by DDA against as many as 10 big hospitals that were issued show cause notices for violating the condition of free treatment to the poor.
The Urban Development Ministry, too, was pulled up for remaining silent about the follow up action that was supposed to have been initiated against the defaulting hospitals.
In the case of two hospitals, Deepak Gupta Memorial Hospital and Sondhi Charitable Hospital, the report observed it was surprising that the Ministry and DDA had accepted the statements made by them on providing free treatment without bothering to check the veracity of their claims.
"It is quite evident from the reply of the ministry that no inspection has been carried out by the DDA of these hospitals so as to check whether the free-bed condition has actually been implemented by them," the PAC report stated.
The 10 hospitals that were issued show cause notices are Amar Jyoti Charitable Trust, Pushpawati Singhania Research Institute for Renal and Digestive Diseases, Dharmshila Cancer Hospital, Escorts Heart Institute & Research Centre, Jaipur Golden Hospital, Shanti Mukand Hospital, National Heart Institute, Rajiv Gandhi Cancer Society, Bhagwati Hospital (Sarvodaya Foundation) and Mai Kamli Wali Jan Kalyan Charitable Trust, Rajouri Garden.
The PAC recommended that the DDA should set up a high power body with an effective mechanism and adequate manpower for taking prompt and effective follow-up action on complaints received against defaulting hospitals.