Fate of over 50 hospitals hangs in balance

Kuldip Bhatia

Ludhiana, March 20

Fate of more than 50 hospitals of the city hangs in the balance as they have either no provision for parking or else the parking space shown in the building plans at the time of construction has been put to use for running drug stores, laboratories or storage of power generators and other equipment. The future of such hospitals would depend on the orders to be given by the Punjab and Haryana High Court in the course of hearing of COCP 1268 of 2015 (Rohit Sabharwal v/s Gopal Krishan & others).

In her personal appearance ordered by the court on the last date of hearing (on December 6, 2018), Commissioner of Municipal Corporation Kanwalpreet Brar was to submit a detailed survey report in the form of an affidavit about availability or otherwise of parking space in the city hospitals as was directed by the court. “However, the case was not taken up today and next date for hearing was fixed for May 17, 2019,” said the Commissioner.

On the previous date of hearing of the case, Justice Nirmaljit Kaur had passed orders saying – “Learned counsel for respondent no.1 (Municipal Corporation, Ludhiana) is directed to find out as to whether the hospitals have made necessary arrangements for parking of vehicles or not and whether there is still obstructions in any manner. The respondents shall also come forward with a plan for parking of the vehicles and also consider constructing multi-level parking lots in areas where there is over-crowding and traffic problems.

The judge had further directed that the Commissioner (respondent no. 1) shall appear in person before the court on the next date of hearing with a specific plan for the purpose.

According to the report prepared by the MC, of a list of 127 hospitals, 51 had parking space available or had made arrangements to provide sufficient parking space within or adjacent to the hospitals. Thirtyfour hospitals did have parking space but it was insufficient, the violation compoundable under the ‘one time settlement policy’ notified by the Punjab Government on March 6, 2019.

Among other hospitals, 13 had no provision for parking space, 11 hospitals/ nursing homes had converted themselves into clinics and submitted undertaking to this effect, 13 others had closed down, three were outside the city limits and two from among the list had been regularised.

The affidavit which was to be submitted by the MC has been prepared on the basis of signed reports submitted by head draftsmen and assistant town planners of all four zones, who had affirmed that actual status of the availability or unavailability of parking space in the identified hospitals had been inspected by them.

A senior official said but for the OTS introduced, many more hospitals would have been in trouble because quite a few of the defaulting hospitals had offered to get the violation compounded under the OTS, on payment of the stipulated fee while a few others were eligible for compounding since the buildings were constructed prior to 1997.

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