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    Published On : Fri, Mar 7th, 2014

    Civic chief continues with RCH scheme against House decision; workers unpaid for 2 months


    Nagpur News.

    A couple of months after the NMC general meeting decided to discontinue the Reproductive and Child Health (RCH) Programme, citing series of irregularities in the Health Department and also highlighting the fact that civic body had not yet undertaken the Memorandum of Understanding with the state government to run this programme, the NMC administration has not yet implemented the House decision. NMC Commissioner Shyam Wardhane not only carried on with the scheme but also paid salaries to the manpower employed in the scheme through its own pockets. However the cash starved civic body is now facing difficulties in paying up RCH workers. As a result the RCH workers have not been paid for over two months.

    Moreover, NMC Commissioner has also raised the budget under RCH head by two and half times while significantly cutting down budget for rest of the schemes.

    BJP Corporator Dayashankar Tiwari along with Sunil Agrawal and Praveen Datke had raised the issue in the civic body’s general meeting over three months ago. In the meeting nodal officer for RCH Dr. Anil Chivhane admitted the fact that MoU was not signed yet in this regard.  Later, Agrawal escalated the matter in health committee meet.

    However NMC administration remained adamant on keeping RCH without signing MoU and sent the proposal twice at the general body meet. On December 4, 2013 the proposal was rejected for the second time. Then the House cited serious irregularities in the health department. At present the proposal has been lying pending with NMC Commissioner Shyam Wardhane who was reportedly reluctant to call off the scheme.

    Talking to Nagpur Today Additional Commissioner Hemant Pawar informed that he had signed the proposal to withdraw RCH scheme about three months back. Citing the reason for so much delay in implementation despite the decision was done three months back, Pawar said, “We have received the file quite late and the delay was done by the health department. They took all this time in sending the file to us. Now it has been sent to NMC Commissioner who would take the final call.”

    When asked about the increased budget allocation for the scheme in the light of general body meeting discarding the scheme for no MoU and other irregularities, Pawar said that the query need to be attended by NMC Commissioner who could be the right authority to reply on this matter.

    This violates the Citizen Charter that strictly rules that no file should be pending with any official for more than four days. On the contrary it has been kept pending for more than three months.

    However Nagpur Today made series of attempts to contact Wardhane but he remained unavailable for the comment. Even his cell was switched off for most part of the day. Wardhane’s PA Patil informed that he was not in the office..

    When Nagpur Today contacted Nodal Officer for RCH Dr. Anil Chivhane he said that the decision taken in the House was yet to be implemented as the file is kept under consideration on Wardhane’s table. He informed that RCH workers were not paid their salaries for the last two months and the matter has been taken up with Commissioner.

    In the budget for 2013-14, Wardhane had earmarked Rs 45 lakh under RCH head, raising it from Rs 20 lakh. Interestingly, as per the original budget only Rs 30 lakh were spent during the last NMC fiscal. As per the norms, the NMC has to bear the expense till the MoU is done. Later the implementation cost would come from the state government.

    However Dr Chivhane added that once the MoU would be signed, the state government would only bear the expenditure for the activities under RCH programme. He said that there was an undertaking that the state would bear the expense from 2007 to 2010 and after that NMC would have to carry it forward. He said that revised proposal from State Government is expected in the month of March.

    Chivhane informed that the RCH programme is mandatory as it is the central government’s scheme. “If it would be withdrawn then the maternal deaths would eventually rise as this scheme particularly focuses on ensuring women’s health during conception,” Chivhane told Nagpur Today.

    Meanwhile, sources informed that budget was significantly raised for RCH to compensate for the workers’ salaries whereas allocations in other heads were noticeably lowered. As present there are 10 posts of health workers and 10 medical officers, of which five have already put in papers.  Around 50 additional workers were on contract, out of which 30 posts are of nurses.

    Sources informed that nodal officer has always tried to skip the procedure of implementing House decision by saying that grant was provided under RCH and hence it had to be continued till March 31. Sources countered this contention saying that the nodal officer was trying to distort the facts as NMC would continue to receive grant even after withdrawal of RCH. If the said scheme is called off, then the works under the scheme would be completed through 12 other urban health schemes being aided by the central government.

    :: Rajeev Khushwaha

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