The city’s health services are in danger of being paralysed if medical professional running private clinics and diagnostic centres from residential areas stop work from August 17 to give in as a mark of protest against sealing orders. The sealing orders, which will be formally issued starting August 14, anyway mean that their establishments have to be closed by the MC by August 24.
These doctors and affected traders who were served notices for closure by the MC on high court orders have now filed a special review petition, which is listed for hearing on August 14.
If the HC’s decision is against the doctors, they threaten to go ahead with the advance shutdown to show that their closure would actually lead to total collapse of health services in Patiala as government hospitals are already overcrowded and can’t render specialised services.
Numerous ultrasound and other diagnostic centres are also facing closure due to the HC orders.The petition says the traders, including private doctors, have been doing business in city after paying commercial fee and taxes to the MC, which has duly approved their commercial building plans. Sources said the Punjab government’s counsel will also appear in the case and would support the arguments of the trading community to seek time.
“It’s sad that the government is not helping us. Thus, we have filed a special petition in the HC for relief. If the court allows us on August 14, we will work. Otherwise, we will suspend operation of hospitals from August 17 onwards,” said a doctor requesting anonymity in wake of the HC orders.
Patiala (rural) MLA Brahm Mohindra, who met the doctors, said, “Doctors are rightly perturbed over the discrimination meted out to Patiala residents. Why discriminate when the same (running clinics from residential areas) is allowed in Mohali?”
“There is a need to develop a state-level policy or the government should provide alternate sites at reserve prices, as most of the nursing homes have duly approved construction plans,” suggested the senior Congress leader, adding, “I have requested the principal secretary (local bodies) to develop laws like Delhi and Haryana to declare the affected areas as Mixed Use Land area (commercial and residential). The government must step in.”
What's the matter
The Punjab and Haryana high court has ordered the municipal corporation authorities to identify all properties with unsanctioned building plans by August 14 and to serve a three-day notice to the owners.
The court has asked the civic body to submit the compliance report on August 22 after sealing all such buildings. These orders were issued in a different case (apart from the sealing of more than 3,200 commercial establishments falling under the Patiala municipal corporation limits) by the court on a petition filed by the Residential Welfare Association, Urban Estate Phase -1.
Also, the court has said that all illegal commercial establishments, including those based in the areas approved by the Punjab Urban Planning and Development Authority (PUDA), the Improvement Trust, and 36 schemes of the town and country planning department, be covered under its orders till August 24.