Delhi govt's Mohalla Clinics hit another roadblock; parents write to L-G against using schools, parks

The Mohalla Clinic project in Delhi faces another hurdle with parents objecting to the Delhi government’s decision to set them up in government schools and parks. The All India Parents Association has submitted a letter to the Lieutenant Governor urging him to restrain the proposed dispensaries in schools and parks.

 Delhi govts Mohalla Clinics hit another roadblock; parents write to L-G against using schools, parks

File image of a Mohalla Clinic in a Delhi neighbourhood. Image courtesy: AAP Facebook

The objection comes at a time when the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government is fighting tooth and nail to get the files related to Mohalla Clinics passed from the LG office.

Only a fortnight ago, the Arvind Kejriwal-led Delhi government had a spat with the Lieutenant Governor’s office, where the former accused it of holding back files on Mohalla Clinics.

The construction of Mohalla Clinics is a flagship programme of the AAP government in Delhi. In June 2015, the Delhi chief minister had announced the decision to open 1,000 Mohalla Clinics in various neighbourhoods of the national capital, while aiming to inaugurate the first Mohalla Clinic in Punjabi Bagh Colony by December.

The Health and Family Welfare Department in Delhi has set up 150 Mohalla Clinics till now.

Sources in the Health and Family Welfare Department say that many of the Mohalla Clinics are planned within the premises of government schools and parks, due to lack of space.

While speaking on the objections raised by the organisation, Ashok Agarwal, President, All India Parents Association (AIPA) told Firstpost, "The compilation of Mohalla Clinics report of the Delhi government contains names of schools and public parks where these dispensaries are planned. Such a plan would violate children’s right to education and right to play.”

He also said that the Delhi High Court has been passing orders to prohibit using schools and parks for purposes other than the intended ones.

In 2002, the Delhi High Court ordered the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) to relocate a dispensary from a school in Bawana in Delhi. Prior to the 2002 order, the Delhi High Court had passed two orders prohibiting MCD from using the school premises for purposes other than education.

"In 1998, the Delhi High Court ordered the MCD to vacate a school in Naveen Shahadra which was being used by some of its employees. A similar order was issued in 2001 to the MCD when its taxation branch was occupying a school in Delhi," said Ashok Agarwal.

Significantly, setting up of a dispensary in school premises is not only seen as an infringement upon the rights of a child in the school but also as a health hazard.

In the 2002 judgment, the Delhi High Court also stated that used syringes and other medical wastes generated in the dispensary shall be disinfected and disposed of in a condition that shall not affect the health of the students, in particular, and citizens in general, and will not be thrown anywhere in the school premises.

"There had been complaints from parents that the dispensary set up in the school was throwing hazardous waste in the school campus," said Agarwal.

Similar orders have been passed in favour of protecting parks for children to play.

"The judiciary has viewed children’s right to play as a right,” says Agarwal

Convention on the Rights of the Child adopted by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution on 20 November 1989 was ratified by India on 12 December 1992 recognising the right of the children to relax and play and to join in a wide range of activities.

The Supreme Court observed in one of its orders that the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights is mandated to intervene wherever there is a failure to implement policies, decisions, guidelines or instructions as per the perspective of child rights as enshrined in the Constitution or in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The AIPA complains that Rajakiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya premises has already been used to set up Mohalla Clinic and demands the closure of the dispensary.

Anil Bajpayee, an AAP MLA in Delhi and a vocal supporter of Mohalla Clinics, told Firstpost that the government will look into the complaints and seek resolution. “None is above the people in Delhi,” he said.

Updated Date: Oct 18, 2017 08:53:34 IST