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HindustanTimes Sun,31 Aug 2014

Civil Hospital posts authorised parking fee, but fleecing continues

Vandana Singh, Hindustan Times  Ludhiana, March 27, 2014
First Published: 10:27 IST(27/3/2014) | Last Updated: 10:48 IST(27/3/2014)

Such are the blatant state of affairs at the Lord Mahavira Civil Hospital, as parking contractor here charges R 10 for a two-wheeler, while standing right beneath the notice displaying the fee as R 2.

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The irony is that patients coming to the civil hospital pay R 5 as out-patient department (OPD) fees, but are forced to shell out R 10 for parking a two-wheeler. This despite the senior medical officer (SMO) displaying the authorised parking fee at a wall near the parking lot.

HT had highlighted the matter on March 11, in its report, ‘Contractors overcharging for parking at civil, ESIC hospitals’, following which the SMO had displayed the parking rates.

However, it didn’t serve any purpose as the contractor is still charging R 5 for bicycle instead of R1, R10 for two- wheeler (authorised R 2) and R 20 for a car (authorised R 10).

SMO Dr RK Karkara said, “I had the authorised parking fee displayed on a wall near the parking area, so that visitors were aware of how much they need to pay. It’s not feasible for me to stand there and check violations by the contractor. Therefore, it is the duty of the visitors to intimate me if the contractor is still overcharging.” He further said that he had already issued a warning to the contractor and served him a show-cause notice.

“Displaying the rates on the wall is not enough to check the overcharging menace, as many times people don’t observe the wall at all. More notice boards should be displayed and random inspections should be done at the parking area to stop the fleecing,” said Ramesh, a visitor at the civil hospital.

Civil surgeon Dr Subhash Batta said, “It is sad that underprivileged patients are being robbed in the name of parking fee. I have asked the SMO to take proper action and he has served a show-cause notice to the contractor. More boards will be displayed to make visitors aware about the parking rates.”

On the other hand, the contractor, Tony, claimed, “The government has increased the OPD fee from R 1 to R 5, but the parking fee is still the same for years. It is difficult for me to recover the contract’s amount with the authorised fee. I have also demanded many times to increase the parking fee.”

ESIC Hospital Also Displays Permitted Parking Fee
Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC) Hospital has also displayed the authorised parking fee at the parking area.

Hospital’s joint director Dr RS Srivastva said, “We have taken print outs of the authorised parking fee and displayed them at the parking area, so that people know how much they are supposed to pay.”

“If still contractor charges more than the prescribed parking fee, they can complain to us, so that we can take further action,” Dr Srivastva added.

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