Prashant Dayal, Ahmedabad: The city Civil Hospital has been running a special welfare scheme for the poor where those patients who cannot afford treatment can get their bills waived off. The cost of their treatment is taken care of from a fund set up from the donations given to the hospital by several organizations and good Samaritans. But even such a noble scheme is not spared with the taint of corruption. Several political leaders have been known to get their relatives and near and dear ones treated for their ailments for no cost under this scheme which is actually meant for the poor. One such startling case of Gujarat BJP state Chief Jitu Vaghani, who got his father-in-law treated for oral cancer at the civil hospital. For the 20-day treatment, Vaghani’s father-in-law was admitted to the VVIP room in the hospital and got the bill almost completely waived off.

On May 25, 2017, Ambalal Parshottam Khabhadiya, the father-in-law of Vaghani got admitted into the VVIP room of the Ahmedabad Civil Hospital for treatment of oral cancer. His treatment ran till June 13, 2017, and a bill of Rs52, 518.90 was raised, but the amount was surprisingly almost completely waived off, and only a paltry sum of Rs175.50 was paid upon his discharge. According to our sources, only state government officials, ministers, and senior bureaucrats can claim bill waiver for treatment of illnesses and ailments at the civil hospital, where they’d be admitted to the VVIP room which comes with special facilities.

But if anyone else who is a resident of the state and requires getting their bills and treatment costs waived off, he/she must have a letter of recommendation from any minister or MLA. But the provision is such that the person getting his/her bills waived off must be someone who is financially not well off or poor. The recommendation of the legislator works for the person even if he/she doesn’t have any documents to get the government benefits for the poor. But he/she has to get the treatment just like any other general patient and has to be admitted for medication and treatment into the general ward. Even if one is to believe that Vaghani’s father-in-law is not in a condition to pay for his medical bills, he could have at least paid those bills, given his is involved with several profitable business ventures and is also financially well-off. At a time when there are several siling patients who live on the footpath outside civil because they cannot afford getting admitted in there, our own leaders misusing the funds meant for the welfare of the poor.