AS many as 103 doctors, who are working with civic-run YCM Hospital, a dedicated Covid-19 hospital, are awaiting their appointment letters from the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) since February this year. The BJP-ruled PCMC, however, is yet to take a decision on their appointment and has instead asked them to work on a temporary basis for six months.
The civic Law Committee, which is supposed to regularise the doctors’ appointment, has postponed its last four meetings. The committee has drawn fire from opposition NCP, which has alleged that the committee was demanding Rs 20-30 lakh for appointing each doctor. The doctors have also submitted a letter to PCMC Commissioner Shravan Hardikar, seeking to know why their appointments were not being regularised.
On June 8, the Law Committee postponed its meeting for the fourth consecutive time since May 4. Committee chairperson and BJP leader Ashwini Bobade turned up for the meeting at 2..30 pm instead of the scheduled meeting time of 12 noon, said sources.
NCP corporator Datta Sane, who is a former opposition leader, alleged that the committee has repeatedly postponed its meeting as “it is trying negotiate a deal with the doctors. I have received complaints that doctors are being asked to shell out money for getting a job with the PCMC. I have told the civic administration. This is how the BJP is ruling PCMC.”
Denying the allegations, Bobade said,”On June 8, I got late for the meeting. When I turned up at 2.30 pm, there were only two members present and therefore we had to postpone the meeting. Similarly, the earlier three meetings were postponed as nobody turned up because of the lockdown being in force”.
Bobade said the committee has never demanded money from any doctor. “Those who are making the allegations should come forward and give us proof. The meetings got postponed because there was no quorum. There was no intention to deliberately postpone the committee meetings,” she said.
Pimpri-Chinchwad Mayor Mai Dhore, who is also a member of the nine-member committee, said, “I have no clue about this…I hardly attend the meetings. They come and take my signature. I will talk to the committee chairperson regarding the allegations being made. Such a thing should never happen.”
BJP corporator Anuradha Gorkhe, who is also a member of the committee, said,”I am away from all this politics. I have no knowledge about any amount being demanded from the doctors. But it is true that committee meetings have got postponed and doctors’ appointments are getting unnecessarily delayed”.
Hardikar said the next meeting of the committee was on June 12 and the administration was hopeful that a decision on appointing the doctors will be taken that day. “It is true that their appointment has been delayed. If any amount has been demanded from the doctors, then I will launch a probe…,” he said.
Civic officials said they had posted an advertisement for appointing 124 doctors. “However, we could get only 74 doctors. Besides these doctors, there are 29 doctors whose appointments have not being regularised. These doctors can earn lakhs in private hospitals but they have decided to take up the Covid-19 challenge,” said a top civic official.