MUMBAI: Adding to the ongoing woes of Marol’s SevenHills Hospital, the BMC sealed and attached its administrative office on Thursday over non-payment of Rs 9 crore property tax. Civic officials said the action followed a notice which had been served to the hospital last month to clear the unpaid property tax amount.
On Thursday morning, officials from the BMC’s assessment and collection department sealed the hospital’s administrative office situated on the ground floor. Devidas Kshirsagar, assistant municipal commissioner (assessment and collection department), said the hospital owes a total of Rs 39 crore in property tax to the BMC, of which Rs 9 crore was the undisputed amount.
“Therefore, last month itself we informed the hospital authorities to clear the unchallenged amount by February 28. The remaining amount is under dispute and we were following the due process of law by directing them to clear the undisputed amount for now. However, the same was not paid to the BMC within the deadline given to them,” he said, adding that they then decided to take the next step of action by sealing the premises. “After taking a sanction from the higher authorities on March 1, our officials sealed their premises,” added Kshirsagar.
Medical services at the hospital have shrunk to the bare minimum with hardly any routine admissions or surgeries taking place. Last November, around 50 doctors had gone on strike over unpaid professional fees pending for six months. A source told TOI that the management has not negotiated with the doctors at all. “In the last two months, close to a dozen doctors have quit and joined other hospitals.”
Another senior doctor said that the 300-bed hospital caters to merely 30-40 patients now. “Only emergency patients are being admitted,” said the doctor. “We are waiting for the judgment of the Hyderabad-based National Company Law Tribunal that is hearing the insolvency plea led by Axis Bank. A lot of doctors have chosen to wait in the hope that once a new management takes over, the dues will be cleared and the hospital would run to its capacity,” said the doctor, adding that patients seeking services under the Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Scheme continue to be treated. Besides the doctors, the staffers and vendors supplying devices to the hospitals have not got their dues.
The hospital management could not be reached for a comment on Friday.