Published On : Mon, Aug 21st, 2017

Uproar at NIT’s public hearing on Wockhardt lease, Chairman slammed for ‘gagging’ citizens

The public hearing on Wockhardt Hospital being held by Nagpur Improvement Trust (NIT) Chairman Dr Deepak Mhaisekar regarding lease renewal of Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha land which houses the hospital witnessed uproarious scenes on Monday. The public hearing consequently had to be adjourned as the NIT Chairman had also denied opportunity to many citizens to express their views on the matter.

According to social activist Anil Wadpalliwar, who had gone to NIT to attend the hearing, said that the NIT Chairman told the objectors that only those organisations which had given written submissions would be given an opportunity to express their views. “The hearing was to be held inside the Chairman’s chamber and only two representatives of such organizations would be allowed inside. We pointed out that NIT could not impose a condition regarding written submissions. Moreover, this was a public hearing and not a private one and participants had right to hear what others had submitted. You are allowed to remain present in the courts during hearing so NIT cannot have a different set of rules,” he added.

Wadpalliwar further accused Mhaisekar of shirking his responsibility by refusing to meet citizens. Tushar Mandlekar, counsel for Citizens Forum for Equality, which had filed a public interest litigation (PIL) against the Maharashtra Rashtrabhasha Sabha and Wockhardt Hospital, said that Mhaisekar wanted to give an opportunity to only a few. This was naturally objected to by others. This is a public hearing and every citizen should get an opportunity to express his views.

Following uproar from the assembled citizens, the NIT Chairman decided to hold a fresh hearing in a hall which could accommodate large number of people. The time and venue of the hearing would be conveyed to us by Mhaisekar through the media, Mandlekar said.

The Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court had directed NIT to hold the public hearing to decide on lease renewal of Wockhardt. Earlier, the HC had pulled up the civic agency for charging a low premium and ground rent for the Sabha land. NIT has been asked to recover the balance amount.