Akali minister Surjit Singh Rakhra-led charitable society has failed miserably to provide “mandatory” infrastructure to run the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) in the past three years, but the PIMS society governing body led by chief minister Parkash Singh Badal on Monday preferred not to initiate any punitive measures as per norms, and instead referred the issue to a steering committee for consideration.
In a 15-minute meeting of the governing body presided over by Badal at Chandigarh, it was decided to refer issues pertaining to concession agreement’s repeated violations by the Rakhra-led society to the steering committee headed by the chief secretary. The PIMS was allotted to the Rakhra-led society on 99 years’ lease in the public private partnership (PPP) mode. It is a 500-bed hospital and runs a medical college with 100 MBBS seats.
A section of PIMS staff had observed a strike owing to management’s failure to pay them salaries on regular intervals, thus affecting delivery of health services, but the issue of employees and patients’ harassment did not figure on the agenda of the meeting.
The agenda read that it was mandatory for the PIMS society to construct multi-storied accommodation for the faculty, separate hostels for girls, boys, interns and residents, an auditorium, at least 500-bed teaching/general hospital and a serai with minimum occupancy of 250 people. But it failed to comply with these conditions till date. It was mandated to complete such works within one month before the start of academic session. “The session started in 2011-12. The governing body extended time limit up to June 30, 2012, but construction work has not started till date,” the agenda said.
Upon not receiving any positive response on the issue, the officials again preferred to “request” Rakhra society to submit an affidavit pertaining to time schedule for completion of the pending works. The private player did not submit any affidavit signed by its authorised signatory while it demanded 18 months extension to complete works.
Rakhra society also failed to deposit Rs. 25 crore construction performance security as per agreement terms despite reminders. The governing body too violated the pact by approving a proposal to issue a ‘notice of commencement’ to the society on June 4, 2010, even as the latter did not comply with conditions.
Interestingly, the steering committee neither issued any notice of default nor imposed any penalty on the concessionaire despite several violations of the pact.
MEET THE COMMITTEE
The chief secretary-led five members steering committee was constituted to monitor the PIMS pact implementation. The panel has powers to review overall functioning, review performance security requirements and decide upon the penalties in the event of default; review any complaint regarding quality of services, denial of services or any other matter related to mismanagement, inadequacies or deficiencies in the PIMS. The committee is also to constitute a poor patient cell and shall monitor treatment of such patients. But none of its members is based at Jalandhar to actually check any wrongdoings.