Bhabha Hospital will have to pay ₹37L to Taj Group for housing its staff
Free arrangement only for March; hotel refuses to comment; BMC says still in talksUpdated: Apr 29, 2020 23:53 IST
KB Bhabha Hospital in Bandra will have to pay over ₹37 lakh to Taj Group of hotels for accommodating hospital staffers on Covid-19 duty. The Taj Group, in an email, said they don’t want to respond.
As the pandemic broke out, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) started to make alternative accommodation arrangements for hospital staffers on Covid duty to curb any possible transmission among their family members and non-Covid staff. In March, the Tata Group of hotels offered Taj Lands End in Bandra and Taj Santacruz to accommodate around 150 hospital staffers, mostly from Bhabha hospital, which got a Covid ward with 150-bed capacity and intensive care units (ICU). The initial agreement stated the hotels were to provide free accommodation. But according to BMC officers, they have redone their agreement under which the corporation may now have to pay a daily charge of ₹2,000 per staff member.
Confirming the change, Suresh Kakani, additional municipal commissioner, BMC, said, “In March, the accommodation at the hotel was for free, but now the agreement has been changed…It is still just a proposal. We are still in talks and will take a decision on it soon.”
However, the data accessed by HT shows that on April 24, medical superintendent of the hospital has released a bill of ₹37,12,000 to be paid to the hotels for accommodating hospital workers. It reads, “As per the telecommunication with Dr Prachi from BMC who is coordinating this, it has been agreed upon to pay ₹2,000 per staff. Accordingly, the below bill has been generated.”
The bill doesn’t mention any amount for the period of March 20-April 1. But from April 2, the hotel has imposed the new charge. The document has the signature of the medical superintendent of the hospital.
On April 2, the number of occupants from the hospital in Taj Lands End was 27, for which the BMC has to pay ₹54,000 a day. Gradually, with the rise in the number of occupants, the bill amount started surging from ₹1,48,000 to ₹2,34,000 for each day. The hospital has drawn up a bill of ₹34,72,000 for 12 days of stay at the hotel till April 18.
Similarly, for the other hotel, the hospital has to pay ₹2,40,000 for the accommodation of 12 workers for 10 days between April 11 and April 20. This takes the total amount to ₹37,12,000.
Civic activist and teacher Aftab Siddique has filed a complaint with the BMC for paying over ₹2 lakh per day to accommodate staff in five-star hotels. “This is quite upsetting, people have no food to eat, people are stranded in the city and BMC is on a different node,” reads the complaint copy sent on April 26. She said, “The staff could easily have been shifted to the deputy municipal commissioner’s building.” Dr Pradip Jadhav, medical superintendent of the hospital, said, “I won’t be able to comment on it.”