Phatak Charged with Toeing Sena, MNS Line

Pandurang Mhaske/DNA

Mumbai, Aug 8: Municipal commissioner Jairaj Phatak found himself likened to Shiv Sena and the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena in pushing the Marathi agenda. The opposition parties in the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) on Thursday targeted Phatak for his proposal to have dual admission policy in civic hospitals, one for Mumbai ration-card holders and another for those outside Mumbai.

Leader of the Opposition, Rajhans Singh, alleged that Phatak was pushing the agenda of Sena and MNS. Singh said that he will take up the case with chief minister Vilasrao Deshmukh and impress upon him that such a move will be harmful to the Congress party at the hustings.

Singh said the commissioner was depriving quality health care to people from rural Maharashtra too in the process. Singh said, “This cannot be justified. Is it that this is the only commissioner who has realised that taxpayers were not getting health service due to the outside patients.” Phatak has made use of Marathi mandatory in the BMC, and with his ration-card rule, it has earned him the reputation of going the Sena-MNS way.
Phatak’s latest proposal indicated that only bonafide residents of Mumbai will get treatment at a nominal cost at these civic hospitals, as it was their taxes that went towards maintaining the infrastructure. Those who cannot prove their domicile in Mumbai will end up paying much more for the services.

In the all-parties group leaders’ meeting on Wednesday, the Congress, Samajwadi Party and Nationalist Congress Party opposed the proposal, and Singh walked out of the meeting.

Sensing the situation, Phatak softened his stand, saying the proposal was only to keep tabs on the patient flow from outside Mumbai. Phatak said,” The proposal is only to collect data about patients from outside. It does not mean that anybody will be refused medical treatment or discriminated against on the basis of residence proof. Everyone will be treated without any bias.”


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