Govt sat on temple donation of dialysis machines - Times of India Print
MUMBAI: A day after CM Devendra Fadnavis declared his ambitious plan to rope in leading temple trusts to strengthen health care at the grassroots level, it has emerged that the Shri Siddhivinayak Ganpati temple trust's Rs 7.5 crore proposal for setting up 102 dialysis units and water purification plants in 24 districts across the state had been gathering dust in the corridors of power for four months from April 9, 2015.

If a senior bureaucrat is to be believed, the proposal was lying in the office of minister of state for home and law and judiciary Ranjeet Patil, an orthopaedic surgeon by profession, for all these months though the gesture from the trust was a benevolent one, with no strings attached. "Our information is that the proposal was not approved as a senior cabinet member was keen on procuring MRI machines for his constituency. As per rules, it is beyond the powers of the trust to donate funds for procuring equipment for a private organization," he said.

When TOI contacted Ranjeet Patil, he claimed to have cleared the proposal a week ago. "I had cleared the proposal recently," said Patil. However, Patil did not comment on the delay in clearing the proposal.

Fadnavis had told a meeting in Pune on Sunday that his government was keen on securing financial assistance from temple trusts for improving health care and for setting up medical colleges on a public-private partnership basis across the state. Pune's Shrikant Dagadu Seth Ganpati temple trust has donated state-of-the-art medical equipment to a state-run medical college.

The bureaucrat said that on April 1, 2015, the state directorate of health services had submitted a comprehensive proposal for providing financial assistance for setting up 102 dialysis units, along with RO (water purification) plants in 24 districts across the state. Subsequently, a high-level meeting was convened in Mantralaya to discuss the proposal. "The scheme of providing financial assistance is exclusively for the government and semi-government hospitals. While it is the responsibility of the public health department to procure equipment, the trust provides financial assistance for the purpose," the bureaucrat said.

A senior BJP cabinet member said it was unfortunate that though the entire proposal was cleared long ago, dialysis units had failed to take off owing to red tape and procedural wrangles. "I feel the CM should initiate a high-level probe into the prolonged delay and fix the responsibility. Prima facie, it appears that the entire project was delayed owing to a casual approach," he said.

The BJP cabinet member said at a juncture when an estimated 35,000 persons are waiting for kidney transplant, the only hope for them is dialysis. "In private hospitals, the cost of dialysis ranges between Rs 1,150 to Rs 1,600. If dialysis facilities are available in all district and sub-district hospitals, it will reduce the financial burden on kidney patients," he said.