As Re1 clinic shuts at Vashi, 15 railway stations in Navi Mumbai left with no medical facility
Magic Dil, the agency which was given the contract of running Re1 clinics, went on a hunger strike on Friday in protest against the termination of the contract
The Re1 clinic at Vashi railway station, which had opened a year ago, shut on Friday. It is one of the six Re1 clinics the railways have shut across Mumbai.
Magic Dil, the agency which was given the contract of running Re1 clinics, went on a hunger strike on Friday in protest against the termination of the contract.
Dr Rahul Gaule, director of the agency, said, “We had a shortage of doctors and so we could not keep doctors at the clinics at nights. We had informed the railways about it. The railways should have given us time to improve services. In the contract, it was mentioned that if we or the railways want to terminate the contract, there would be a notice period of 60 days. But the railway officials did not abide by that,” he said
“On Friday, we had staged a hunger strike at Thane railway station protesting this. We have decided to move court on Saturday,” he added.
With its closure, none of the 15 railway stations in Navi Mumbai has any medical facilities.
The proposed emergency medical room at Nerul railway station is yet to start.
Following the Bombay high court’s order, the railways had opened the Re1 clinic at Vashi in July last year. It was the only such clinic in Navi Mumbai.
“The clinics were asked to keep MBBS doctors for treating patients 24x7. But they hired BAMS doctors, that too for a few hours a day. There would be no doctor at night,” said a senior officer from the Central Railway (CR).
“Since they were unable to fulfil our criteria, we have asked them to shut down. We might outsource the task to some other agencies,” he said.
Sudarshan Khurana, manager of Vashi railway station, confirmed that there was no doctor available at the clinic at night. “Doctors would be there during the day and they were doing their best to treat patients,” he said.
“A huge number of commuters, who suffered injuries over the past one year, were treated at that clinic. We hope the authorities will take measures to reopen the clinic soon,” he added.
The railways had started a general clinic at Panvel station with a private hospital from the city. The clinic too has been shut for the past few months.
PR Meena, station master from Panvel, said, “The railways had a tie-up with the private hospital to run the clinic. However, something went wrong in the deal a few months ago and the clinic has been shut since then.”
A senior railway officer from Navi Mumbai on condition of anonymity said, “There are good private hospitals in Navi Mumbai but the railway officials do not approach them as they cannot earn anything out of that. The tie-ups with small hospitals do not last,” he added.
Railway commuters are upset as there is not a single clinic at any station in Navi Mumbai.
“With an increase of city’s population, train commuters have also increased. But instead of providing more medical facilities, the authorities are closing the clinics,” said Manisha Jha, 34, a daily commuter from Nerul.
Biman Sharma, 52, a resident of Vashi said, “Most railway stations in Navi Mumbai do not have ambulances parked on the premises. The authorities should take immediate steps to provide medical help,” he said.