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End of low-cost health care?

Hospitals paying low land rates to DDA get green signal for sale, reports HT Correspondent.

delhi Updated: Jun 03, 2009 23:50 IST
HT Correspondent

Affordable healthcare may soon become history for Delhi.

A proposal to allow certain charitable hospitals to change their ownership or organisational structure without cancelling their lease got the green signal from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA) on Wednesday.

They are those hospitals that were given land by the DDA at a concessional rate.

The decision is likely to have some far-reaching implications on the healthcare sector of Delhi.

The DDA, which is responsible for regulating land use in the Capital, cleared the proposal on Wednesday in a board meeting chaired by Lieutenant Governor Tejender Khanna.

According to the proposal, all that the new owner of such a hospital will have to do is pay “unearned increase” in the value of the land (the difference between the premium paid and the market value of the said land at the time of sale) to the body.

The proposal now needs the approval of the Union Urban Development Ministry before it can become a law.

An immediate beneficiary of the proposal — if approved by the ministry — would be the Escort Heart Institute & Research Centre in Delhi. The hospital, which was given prime land in south Delhi at a cheaper rate, was sold to Fortis Healthcare Limited in 2005 in gross violation of the lease agreement.

The development authority had subsequently cancelled the lease allotment of the institute, following which the latter had appealed in the Delhi High Court.

If the new proposal gets the green signal from the ministry, Fortis can legally become the owner of the hospital. Fortis will only have to pay the necessary charges.

Sudarshan Mazumdar, Director (Marketing), Fortis Healthcare, said, “I have not yet heard of the DDA approval. I won’t be able to comment.”

Other charitable hospitals that would benefit include the Flight Lieutenant Rajan Dhall Hospital in Vasant Kunj, which was taken over by Ranbaxy-controlled Fortis Healthcare and Deepak Memorial Hospital, in East Delhi that is being run by the Kailash Group of Hospitals.