Updated: September 22, 2021 9:05:16 am
The top brass of the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) on Tuesday denied allegations that hospitals under the civic body were being privatised. “We are not privatising our hospitals and are only outsourcing manpower,” the additional municipal commissioner of PCMC, Vikas Dhakane, said. The response came after opposition parties accused the BJP-led civic body of promoting privatisation.
The general body of the PCMC on Monday had given a formal approval to the proposal to appoint private agencies for providing manpower to civic hospitals in the industrial city. The YCM hospital with 750 beds is the biggest hospital run by the PCMC. There are also civic hospitals in Pimpri, Bhosari, Akurdi, Chinchwad and Thergaon.
Dhakane said that PCMC hospitals had faced severe shortage of staff since the outbreak of the pandemic. “We had appointed staff on a temporary basis. However, many employees left their jobs suddenly and we faced problems in finding their replacements. In order to streamline the recruitment process and overcome such hurdles in future, we have appointed three private agencies to provide us with staff as and when required,” Dhakane added.
Unlike the six-month contract offered previously by the PCMC to temporary hospital staff, the private agencies have been asked to appoint employees for a three-year period. “However, the appointments will be made as per the laid-down norms and with the approval of the YCMH dean,” Dhakane said.
The PCMC authorities said that they have been forced to hire private agencies owing to the restrictions imposed by the state government on recruiting permanent staff. “The Maharashtra government has put a ban on recruiting permanent staff for civic hospitals in the state. Therefore, we have to appoint temporary staff,” he said.
However, despite the clarification issued by the PCMC, the opposition parties continued to take on the BJP over the decision to hire private agencies. Former mayor and NCP corporator Yogesh Behl said: “The ruling party is on a spree to provide free space to private agencies in civic hospitals. The PCMC should remember that it is not working for charity, it has to serve the honest tax-paying citizens of Pimpri-Chinchwad.”
Meanwhile, Raju Misal, the NCP House leader in PCMC, criticised the civic body for trying to float bonds to raise funds for the River Improvement Project. “When the PCMC has Rs 4,000 crore deposits, what is the need to float bonds?” he asked.
Even BJP corporator Sandeep Waghere alleged that the Special Purpose Vehicle for the River Improvement Project has been set up to receive “commission”. Waghere said that just like in the case of the Smart City Project, the SPV plan will also lead to allegations of corruption.
MNS corporator Sachin Chikhale said that while forming the SPV, the civic administration has ignored leaders from other parties. “I had written a letter to the mayor in this regard, yet MNS was not included in it,” he said.
Another former mayor and NCP corporator Mangala Kadam said: “The ruling BJP is taking the PCMC towards bankruptcy through the SPV.”
Whereas Sena corporator Rahul Kalate said: “We strongly oppose the bid to set up an SPV. One wonders whether the SPV is being set up with an eye on getting commissions.”
Namdeo Dhake, the BJP House leader in the PCMC, said: “Bonds are being floated so that funds are available for the quick execution of the river project. The SPV has been set up just like in the case of Metro projects across the country. By raising bonds, the status of the PCMC will rise at the international level. The opposition is only opposing the project for the sake of opposing it.”
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