HC on Wadia Hosp funding: ‘State has funds for statues, but not for treatment of poor’Updated: Jan 16, 2020 23:59 IST
The Bombay high court (HC) on Thursday lambasted the state government for failing to show any sense of urgency in releasing the grant for Nowrosjee Wadia Maternity Hospital at Parel, which is facing financial crisis.
A division bench of justice SC Dharmadhikari and justice RI Chagla said while the government has money to spend on construction of statues they seem to be tight-fisted when it comes to the treatment of the poor and needy. “They [the government] are saying that they will increase the height of the Dr Ambedkar statue [at a total cost of ₹1,069.95 crore] and make it taller than the Statue of Unity in Gujrat,” said the bench. “The government has money for construction of the statue of Dr Ambedkar, but not for the medical treatment of the people who worship him throughout their lives. As if they will forget their hunger, their thirst just by looking at the statue,” the bench said.
The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) filed by the NGO Association for Aiding Justice, seeking directions to ensure proper working of Wadia Maternity Hospital and Bai Jerabai Wadia Children’s Hospital.
The judges were irked after advocate Girish Godbole, who appeared for the government, informed them that the government has sanctioned ₹24 crore of the contingency fund, but the amount would be released to the hospital only in three weeks.
“How do you justify that in the commercial capital of India, poor patients are refused admission to charitable hospitals,” the judges asked Godbole, ordering the government to release the amount by Friday evening. Godbole then requested the bench to keep the PIL for further hearing on Friday afternoon, which the bench agreed to.
Responding to another petition advocate Suresh Pakale informed the bench that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will release ₹14.39 crore to Bai Jerabai Wadia Children’s Hospital. “The amount will be transferred to the hospital trust by RTGS and I will produce the receipt of the transfer on Monday,” Pakale told the court.