From the Times of India:
NEW DELHI: The railways have shelved former minister Mamata Banerjee’s ambitious plan of setting up medical colleges across the country. Officials said the hospitals run by the transporter are ‘white elephant’ eating up funds while quality of treatment is poor due to non-availability of good doctors.
The cash-strapped transporter cited Medical Council of India (MCI) rules to junk the proposal.
Most of the railway-run hospitals are equipped with massive infrastructure, located at prime real estate, but they don’t have specialist doctors and act as mere referral centres. Even the Central Hospital in Delhi refers most of the patients to private hospitals which was on the railways’ panel.
“The cost of running a hospital is six times more than the bearing the complete cost of treatment of an employee in a private hospital,” said an official, adding nowhere in world railways own and manage hospitals.
The employees can get free treatment if the hospitals are handed over to private players, considering the prime location and huge huge infrastructure, he said.
Another official said cases of alleged malpractices have been reported in supply of equipment and medicines. He also pointed to a big ‘sick and fit’ racket in which doctors allegedly charge money to declare an employee either sick or fit to be on duty.
In 2009-10 rail budget, Banerjee had announced setting up of medical colleges attached to existing railway hospitals through PPP mode to give higher education facilities to children of railway personnel.
“As per MCI rules, medical colleges on PPP mode with government (railway) hospitals are not permitted. The ministry has therefore dropped the proposal of setting up medical colleges,” junior railway minister Manoj Sinha told Parliament.
After Mamata’s proposal, RITES, a railways subsidiary, was awarded the work at an estimated cost of Rs 187 lakh besides service tax for consultancy and preparing bid documents for selection of private partners. RITES had submitted preliminary reports on feasibility studies in Chennai, Secunderabad and Kharagpur for which Rs 29.41 lakh was spent.
Other proposed locations were Barasat, Garden Reach, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Bilaspur, Lucknow, Bhubaneswar, Mysore, Guwahati, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Jodhpur, Dibrugarh, Bhopal, Jammu and Thiruvananthapuram.
One of the points to Note:
Expenditure for consultation: Sanctioned Rs. 187 lakhs only. Spent Rs. 29.41 lakhs only.
What was the amount paid by the ESIC to the consultant?