Tribune News Service
Jalandhar, May 28
Punjab Health Systems Corporation vice-chairman Monik Sehgal, popularly known as Bobby Sehgal, and his brother Manish Sehgal (both aged 52) tested positive late Wednesday night.
On March 15, when MP Santokh Chaudhary visited the Covid-19 isolation ward at the Jalandhar Civil Hospital, he was accompanied by Bobby Sehgal.
Sehgal also visited the Civil Hospital, when the Army band offered a grand appreciation to the health staff on May 3. He visited innumerable other times also, when a private hotel and local bank disbursed PPE kits and food among patients.
However, when he tested positive for Covid-19 last night, guess where he chose to stay? At the IMA’s special Covid-19 centre, away from the city in the middle of a field at Billi Chuharmi village of Shahkot in Jalandhar. Both brothers have chosen to put up at the three-star facility set up by the Indian Medical Association for Covid-19 patients.
While Sehgal was present at the Civil Hospital’s key occasions with his picture sprawling in vernaculars, he, at this crucial juncture, chose private services over government ones, which he was endorsing for months.
While the choice made by the senior Health Department functionary is certainly glaring, he is not the only affluent person in Jalandhar to do so.
All industrialists, doctors, affluent health professionals and senior Health Department personnel are making a beeline to the IMA facility – skipping the services at the Civil Hospital.
“The IMA facility was erected at a cost of Rs70 lakh (Rs57 lakh were contributed by various private hospitals in Jalandhar and rest by Dahiya family) to facilitate patients for whom the Civil Hospital might not be convenient. It operates on a no-profit, no-loss basis and is run by veteran doctors who are functionaries of four major hospitals in Jalandhar. While it has individual ACs, satellite TV, for each patient, it also has the facilities of turbines, central suction, central oxygen etc. Staff members are paid by the IMA as well and they are paid better than private hospitals. Hence, we have fixed expenses of Rs7.5 lakh per month. The charges from patients are only to incur those expenses,” said Dr Navjot Dahiya, IMA Punjab president.
Dr Dahiya said while IMA had asked the government to take over the facility, in the event of its refusal the IMA pitched in to run it as Covid-19 centre.
Dr TP Singh, nodal officer, Covid-19 Jalandhar, said: “There is no hard and fast rule of keeping patients at the Civil Hospital. All those choosing to get treated at Shahkot are free to do so. We are providing the best of facilities at the Civil Hospital as well.”
Those admitted to IMA facility
- Sehgal brothers, a Lajpat Nagar-based industrialist and his family, a nurse as well as New Jawahar Nagar-based industrialist are admitted to the Shahkot-based three-star facility.
- Before this, seven staff members of the Kidney Hospital, who tested positive, were also admitted here. They have all been discharged now.
- The 35-bed facility has 25 regular beds, 10-bed ICU and every bed has its individual AC and the facility has 10 ventilators.
- n Being run at a no profit, no loss basis by four doctors of the IMA, the facility is made on a land (and basic building) donated by IMA president Dr Navjot Dahiya’s US-based cousin.
- The charge per patient at the facility is Rs5,000 per day.
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