Health issues take a back seat when it comes to BMC standing committee meetings.
In the year ending March 2013,the 227 corporators asked only 200 health-related questions,less than one a person.
In fact,138 corporators did not ask even a single such question.
We have a public health meeting once in a month and I usually raise issues. Very few corporators raise health-related issues, said Saeeda Khan from L Ward.
She raised 31 questions,the maximum. Her questions were on absence of cleanliness in peripheral as well as tertiary hospitals,dearth of doctors,the large number of vacancies in hospital security and poor condition of machinery used.
Hundred of 850 cleaning staff posts are vacant. It is essential to recruit sweepers and cleaners to maintain hygiene, Khan said.
According to Praja,maximum questions raised by corporators concerned epidemics and sensitive diseases (27),followed by 23 each related to human resources and health services. Corporator from M East Ward Rais Shaikh said,BMC has a public health committee to discuss health issues. Questions about it are not frequently raised in standing committee meetings. However,even I have raised issues such as under-spent health budget and absence of ventilators in hospitals.
The public health committee has 36 members,of which two are nominated. But even in this committee,only 23 of the 36 asked questions on health in 2012-13. MLAs have a better record,having raised 780 questions in the 2012 budget,monsoon and winter sessions. Of the 780 questions,446 pertained to health schemes and policies while 334 were about other health-related issues.
Baldev Khosa and Milind Kamble did not raise a single health-related issue.