The civic body has decided to regularise all nursing homes and clinics operating from residential buildings without a separate entrance, but only after they pay a penalty.
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) building proposal department has issued notices to more than 700 clinics and nursing homes in the city saying it would regularise them by changing the user as per the amended law, but will charge a penalty of Rs 425 for every sq metre of the built-up area.
“If clinic owners want their clinics to be regularise, they will have to pay for it,” said an official from the department, requesting anonymity because he is not authorised to talk to media.
The Supreme Court in 2009 ruled that clinics and nursing homes in residential buildings should have separate staircases or elevators and should not use the residential building’s amenities. The Supreme Court had said failure to ensure this would lead to the cancellation of licence.
The BMC, however, decided to amend the law to regularise all clinics and nursing homes in residential buildings for a premium.
For many clinics, the damages could be between Rs2 lakh to Rs18 lakh. “The BMC has asked us to pay Rs8 lakh in seven days although we have all licences and permissions,” said a clinic operator operating in the western suburbs since 1977, requesting anonymity.
Nursing homes and clinic operators are upset with the BMC for levying such a hefty penalty especially since these clinics have been paying the corporation water and sewerage charges, property tax and assessment tax to the BMC.
Clinic operators are irked with the BMC for calculating the penalty on the built-up area instead if the carpet area. “I will raise this issue in the civic standing committee meeting,” Congress corporators from Dahisar, Rajendraprasad Chaube, said.
According to international standards, Mumbai should maintain a 1,000:1 ratio of the city’s population to the number of hospital beds. The city is 2,000 beds short. “The city’s population is 1.40 crore and hospital beds available are 12,000, of which 30-40% go to patients from outside the city,” Chaube said. “People from middle and upper-middle classes prefer private clinics because they cannot afford big private hospitals. So, indirectly, these clinics are helping the civic body.”