New Delhi: Even though the joint battle against the chikungunya epidemic, declared by the Delhi government and the Lt Governor is yet to be won, the turf war between the two resurfaced again on Friday after the latter slapped notices on the government for building Mohalla Clinics illegally.
The reemergence of the battle for domain adds much to the woes of the Delhites, struck by chikungunya outbreak, queuing in the Mohalla Clinics to avail free medicines, advice and diagnostic tests. The new stand-off came to public glare after the Delhi Chief Minister posted a news item on his Facebook page, about the slapping of notices by Lt Governor Najeeb Jung for allegedly building Mohalla Clinics without permission of the MCD. The news item also says that some of the Mohalla Clinics are being built blocking footpaths.
The tug of war that has put the common man at the receiving end is seen with much bitterness.
“When the question is of public service, I think that minor deviations from rule should be over looked. Mohalla Clinics are doing great public service by providing us free medicine, free medical advice and free tests. If the Lt Governor must evict such a facility, then an alternative to it has to be given to us for meeting our medical needs,” saïd Deepak Katyal, a resident of Patparganj.
Jung issued notices to the Chief Secretary and PWD Secretary of the Delhi government after the MCD complaint to him about the deviations, said a report.
North Delhi Municipal Corporation Mayor Sanjeev Nayyar told Firstpost that the Delhi government is setting up structures wherever it wants, just to show that it is doing something.
“Structures are built blocking footpaths in the name of Mohalla Clinics. What do they want to prove?"he asked.
He also said that the Delhi government has made one Mohalla Clinic in Paschim Vihar where already three dispensaries — one run by Municipal Corporation of Delhi and the other two by the Central government and the Delhi government itself — already exist within half a kilometre of each other.
"Do they want to close the dispensary run by the Delhi government and run the Mohalla Clinic there?" he questioned.
"Law will take its own course," he said when asked what the MCD plans to do after serving of notice, hinting that these structures may be evicted.
Nayyar said that the Aam Aadmi Party hardly listens to anyone. Hence, he said the MCD is left with not many options.
“They even ask for proof of surgical strikes. What can one expect from them,” he said.
Hinting that the move against Mohalla Clinic is a mere turf war, Abhishek Kumar, an Aam Aadmi Party functionary, said that there is hardly any such clinic made on the footpaths.
“When a Mohalla Clinic is built, due suggestions from the local residents and local MLA is taken. I do not think that the local residents will allow it to be built on the footpaths. It is utterly wrong to say that Mohalla Clinics exist on footpaths," he said.
Kumar said that Mohalla Clinics are generally built in areas where people want a government health facility near to their dwelling places.
“In most cases, Mohalla Clinics are built where there is no health facility," he said.
But he could not tell for sure whether all the Mohalla Clinics had permission from MCD.
He also said that patients flow to the Mohalla Clinics continue as the battle against chikungunya is still not won.
On the other hand, a local resident of Peeragarhi who did not wish to be named said that evicting Mohalla Clinics will make no sense. For in Delhi, a number of illegal colonies were regularised in the past, so there is no point in evicting Mohalla Clinics.
"After all Mohalla Clinics are providing great service to the poor for whom healthcare expense is unbearable," he said.