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BJP-ruled North Delhi Municipal Corporation serves notice to some of AAP's Mohalla Clinics

Vishakh Unnikrishnan | Updated on: 10 February 2017, 1:47 IST

In its effort to remove unwanted or illegal structures from public spaces like pavements and footpaths, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has sent notices to Mohalla Clinics in the city, warning them of eviction if they don't relocate soon.

Delhi government's health minister Satyendar Jain shared the initial decision at a high power committee meeting where it was said that the 'portacabins' on footpaths have been erected without the approval of the corporation.

Mohalla Clinics fall under these 'illegal' structures as some of them are being run from portacabins and have therefore come under the scanner and might even be dismantled by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation.

While the dismantling of Mohalla Clinics has not yet been initiated, the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has sent official notices warning two Mohalla Clinics of eviction already.

"We have found that Mohalla Clinics in Paschim Vihar and Paharganj are violating rules. Illegal constructions in the area will be removed. For now, however, we have only given notices to these clinics asking them shift and get the adequate license," said standing committee chairman Parvesh Wahi.

"We cannot give them illegal registration just because it's a Mohalla Clinic," he added.

Wahi said that although dismantling has not started yet, if the clinics do not heed to notices soon then there will be action taken. He also clarified that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation is in talks with the Lieutenant Governor Najeeb Jung on the matter.

The main issue

The Mohalla Clinics that have been sent notifications are functioning in portacabins and temporary structures designed to be more movable rather than function as a permanent structure.

North Delhi Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar clarified that illegal structures will not be permitted and as a civic body if the North Delhi Municipal Corporation finds that portacabins have been put up for Mohalla Clinics without permission, they will be removed.

Jain had said in the past that such temporary structures do not need permission from the corporation. But the North Delhi Municipal Corporation has clarified clarified that such clinics, on areas like footpaths, pose as a danger to public safety.

So far so good

Mohalla Clinics are New Delhi government's flagship scheme and have done wonders to improve healthcare accessibility in the national capital.

"On an average around 110 patients visit the Mohalla Clinic every day. This is much more than any private clinic I know of.. Since its inception, the number of patients visiting the clinic has doubled. During the last two weeks, when there was a rise in cases of Chikungunya and Dengue, the number of patients increased to 140," says Dr Surupa Rajan, a Mohalla Clinic doctor.

The good news is that most Mohalla Clinics work in rented spaces in apartments and need not fear eviction or dismantling. There are however a good number of Mohalla Clinics that function in portacabins and the Delhi government does plan on setting up more of them.

Criticism

Of course, there has been criticism, Mohalla clinics have been accused by the Congress for being owned by people close to the Aam Aadmi Party or members of the party.

The use of private doctors who work for limited hours have also been criticised. Recently, many patients also complained that the clinics cannot handle the increase in a number of patients during the Chikungunya scare.

This, however, does not negate the pros of having such clinics situated in areas where the nearest hospital is miles away.

Among health experts, while some believe that investment should go towards already equipped dispensaries, others believe that since Mohalla Clinics cost way less, at times by 50%, hence, are better alternatives.

But the numbers speak for themselves with many patients opting for Mohalla Clinics and in the process avoiding quacks and expensive alternatives that private healthcare has to offer. Dismantling them will be a bane.

Edited by Jhinuk Sen

Also read: AAP Mohalla clinics: rented homes turn clinics, private docs appointed

Also read: #MohallaClinics: AAP has diagnosed Delhi's health problem. Can it cure it?

Also read: Delhi Health Minister's daughter quits Mohalla Clinic post amid criticism

First published: 30 September 2016, 6:51 IST
 
Vishakh Unnikrishnan @sparksofvishdom

A graduate of the Asian College of Journalism, Vishakh tracks stories on public policy, environment and culture. Previously at Mint, he enjoys bringing in a touch of humour to the darkest of times and hardest of stories. One word self-description: Quipster.

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