The residents of the Akash Horizon Premises Cooperative Society Limited, located bang opposite Western Railway’s (WR) car shed at Mumbai Central (east side), have complained about constant air and noise pollution, they are suffering for nearly one decade, due to the work of maintenance of trains, in the car shed adjacent to their building.
The testing, recharging and maintenance of Rajdhani. Shatabdi and Duronto trains is done in the open shed, touching the compound wall of the Aakash building. While shunting of coaches/locomotives and testing of power cars generates a lot of noise, a lot of smoke is emanated by the diesel generators, which straightway flows in the flats of the residents. The generators also cause vibration, due to which the compound wall of the building was collapsed some time back.
The work also causes financial loss to the railways since it has been using outdated technology. The testing can be done through less expensive electric power generators, as against age-old diesel operated generators. The diesel is much more expensive, Sulaiman Bhimani, President, Citizen Justice Forum said.
Mirza Baig, Hon Gen Secretary of the society, who has been following up the matter with WR since long, in a letter dated 5 December 2017, to Divisional Railway Manager (DRM), has pointed out that the railways recharge generators day in and day out causing considerable amount of noise and sound pollution.
The 19 story building accommodates over 1000 people, most of whom are senior citizens. The work goes on till 4 AM disturbing peace in the area, Baig has stated requesting WR to take corrective step to stop this nuisance. The “Equinox Labs” in its report dated 17 March 2016, had stated that the noise level in the shed was 94.4 decibels as against specified limit of 55 decibels. If the railways fail to take corrective action, then we will be left with no option but to approach the court, Baig said.
Additionally, BMC’s Nair Hospital, catering to lakhs of patients, which is in close proximity of the yard, and thousands of residents in the neighbourhood also has to bear the noise and air pollution emanating from the yard.
Earlier, in response to a query under RTI by the resident Laeek Chunawala, ADME (BCT), WR vide letter dated 31 December 2015, had admitted that the department had not obtained any NOC for the work. Similarly DEE/RS/BCT vide letter dated 7 January 2016 had stated that the EMU shed is for day to day maintenance of EMU rakes and is not covered under Factories Act 1948.
Way back in 2009, the then WR GM R N Verma, in a letter dated 4 December 2009 to former MP and Minister Milind Deora, had stated that the rescheduling of the work of testing power cars has been done so that the residents are list disturbed. But of no avail.
Under article 21 of constitution of India, every citizen has right to live in clean and peaceful environment and it is the responsibility of state to provide it. It is expected of Railway Minister Piyush Goyal to give relief to citizens, who include senior citizens, women and children, Bhimani said. There was no response to detailed email seeking clarification sent to WR DRM.
This is a letter by Dr. Kafeel Khan, whose sole "crime" was trying to prevent deaths from deprivation of oxygen. He was arrested and has now spent 8 months in jail without bail for little reason more than the state needing a scapegoat for its own failures.
8MS, IN JAIL WITHOUT BAIL
AM I REALLY GUILTY?
I cherished each moment. Every scene is still alive like it is happening right now in front of my eyes, even after 8 months of unbearable torture, humiliation behind the bars. Sometime I asked myself am I really guilty? And the answer pop out from the core of my heart
No, no - A Big NO.
The moment I got that WhatsApp message on that 10th August 17 fateful night, I did everything a doctor, a father, a responsible CITIZEN OF INDIA would/should do. I tried to save each and every life who was in danger due to sudden stoppage of liquid oxygen. I did my level best to save those innocent kids who were dying because of lack of oxygen.
I frantically called everyone, I begged, I talked, I ran, I drove, I ordered, I yelled, I screamed, I consoled, I counselled, I spent, I borrowed, I cried I did all what is humanly possible.
I called my Head of the Department, my colleagues, Principal BRD, Acting Principal BRD, DM GKP, AD Health GKP, CMS/SIC GKP, CMS/SIC BRD MC informed them about the grave situation arising due to sudden stoppage of liquid oxygen and how kids life are in danger due to lack of oxygen supply. [I have all the call records]
I begged gas suppliers MODI GAS, BALA JI, Imperial GAS, Mayur Gas Agency, All the hospitals around BRD medical college afterr arranging their contact No - for jumbo cylinders to save hundreds of life of innocent kids.
I paid them cash and assured them will pay rest on delivery. [We arranged 250 cylinders/day until liquid oxygen tank arrived. One jumbo cylinder cost 216/- Rs]
I ran from one Qubical to another, from ward 100 to ward 12 to Emergency Ward. From point of oxygen supply to point of delivery to make sure uninterrupted oxygen delivery.
I drove to get cylinder from nearby Hospitals in my car. When I realized that was not sufficient I drove to SSB and met its DIG and explained him the unprecedented situation. Their response was very quick and supporting. They arranged big truck and group of soldiers to carry supply cylinders from BRD to Gas Agency, filled it, brought to BRD and ran again to refill. They worked for continuous 48 hours.
Their spirit boost ours. I salute SSB and very thankful for their help.
I spoke to my junior/senior doctors, I ordered my staff. Don't get panic, don't be disheartened, do not get angry with agitated parents, do not take brake - we had to work as a team to treat efficiently to save every life.
I consoled grieving parents who had lost their kids, I counselled those agitated parents who were getting angry after losing their kids. There was so much chaos. I explained to them liquid O2 is finished, but we are trying to make it with jumbo oxygen cylinders.
I yelled/screamed to everyone to focus on savings lives. I cried. Actually everyone in the team cried to see the havoc created by the Administrative failure to pay the dues to the liquid oxygen suppliers - resulting in such a grave situation.
We did not stop trying until liquid oxygen tank arrived around 1:30 am on 13-08-2017.
But my life turned upside down when CM Yogiji Maharaj arrived next morning on 13-08-17. He asked – so you are Dr Kafeel? You arranged cylinders?
I was like – yes sir.
He got angry – so you think by arranging cylinders, you became hero, I will see it.
Yogiji was angry because – how this incident came into the media. I swear to my Allah, I did not inform any media person that night. They were already there that night itself.
Then police started coming to our home – hounding, threatening, torturing my family. People warned they would kill me in an encounter. My family, my mother, my wife, my kids were so scared that I do not have words.
I surrendered to save my family from the humiliation, misery – thinking when I have not done anything wrong, I should get justice.
But numbers of days, weeks and months passed – August, 2017 to April, 2018. Holi came, Dussehra came, Christmas gone, New Year came, Diwali came – every date – Tareekh Par Tareekh (date after dates) hoping will get bail. Then we realised that judiciary is also working under pressure. (Even they acknowledged the same)
Sleeping on floor with more than 150 prisoners in a cramped barrack with millions of mosquito at night and thousands of flies in the day. Trying to swallow food to live, bath half naked in the field and sit in a toilet with broken door. Waiting for Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday to meet my family.
Life is hell, miserable not only for me but for my whole family. They had to run from one pillar to another – from police station to court, from Gorakhpur to Allahabad – in hope of justice. But all in vain.
My daughter whose first bithday I could not celebrate is now 1 year 7 months old. As a pediatrician, it is very painful, disheartening not to see his child to grow. As a pediatrician, I used to taught parents importance of milestones and myself do not know when my daughter started walking, speaking and running.
So now again that question haunts me – am I really guilty? No, no – NO.
I was on leave on 10th August 2017. (It was sanctioned by my HoD). Still, I rushed to do my duties – is that wrong?
They made me head of the department, vice chancellor of BRD, prabhari (in-charge) of 100-bed acute encephalitis syndrome (AEH) ward. I am a junior most doctor and joined only on 08-08-2016 as a permanent employee. I was working as nodal officer with NRHM and lecturer pediatrics. My whole work is to teach students, treat kids. I was nowhere involved with purchase/tender/order/maintenance/supply/payment of liquid oxygen/jumbo cylinders.
If Pushpa Sales (the official supplier) stopped liquid oxygen supply, how am I responsible for that? Even non medico could tell doctors’ work is to treat, not to buy oxygen.
The guilty are DM Gorakhpur, DGME (director general of medical education), principal secretary health education for not taking any action against 14 reminders sent by Pushpa Sales for its Rs 68 lakh dues.
It was a total administrative failure at higher level, they did not realise the gravity and just to save themselves, they made us scapegoat and put us behind the bars so that truth will remain inside Gorakhpur jail.
When Manish Bhandari (director of Pushpa Sales) got bail, we same same light that may be now we would also get justice and come out to live with my family and to serve again.
But No – we are still waiting.
Supreme Court says – bail is the right, prison is exception. This is a classical example of miscarriage of justice.
I hope time would come and I would be free with my family and my daughter. Truth will prevail. Justice would be served.
A helpless, broken heart father, husband, brother, son and friend
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority's move to cap pricing of coronary stents would adversely affect well-to-do patients and medical tourism industry in India
After the Delhi High court passed the order to slash the price of stents, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA), a government regulatory agency issued a order on 13th Feb, 2017. This order came as a boon for the BJP Government which was busy with their UP & BMC campaign. PM Narendra Modi made it sure, that price capping of stents becomes an USP during his election speeches. Neither the Government nor the NPPA took suggestions from doctors, hospitals before issuing new regulations.
To summarise, stents were capped in 2 broad categories. 1. Bare Metal Stents - Rs.7260 2. Drug Eluting Stents and Bioresorbable Vascular Scaffold/Biodegradable Stents - Rs.29600
As of now, Abbott and Medtronic have filed for withdrawal of their premium coronary stents from the Indian market, as it wasn't commercially viable after the price cap. Boston Scientific might withdraw their premium stents too after the completion of their corporate sustainability review. Now Indian patients won't have access to high end stents even if they are ready to spend money. Government has every right to make doctors work for the poor, but they can’t deprive middle and upper class of what they can buy. This is not beneficial for a democracy. This is extreme health care rationing. Bare metal stents could be made of stainless steel, cobalt or platinum. The pricing of these differs.
It's the basic law of economics. If tomorrow, Government decides to put a price cap of Rs.30,000 on smartphones. Then Apple will only sell older iPhone models like SE, 6 and won't sell newer 7, 7S models.
To make matters worse, NPPA has rejected the withdrawal plea of Abbott and Medtronic. They also directed stent manufacturers to have stock for 6 months or face action. Basically forcing them to sell their high end products at a loss. This lame restriction could be easily evaded by importing only basic stents while not importing premium stents. Imagine, Mercedes Benz being forced to sell their high end car for Rs. 10 lakhs. This is borderline insanity, Government can't dictate companies to sell their non-essential, premium products at a specific price. This isn't North Korea.
If Government is serious of public healthcare in India then why does it spend a meagre 1.4% of the GDP on healthcare? Because that doesn't favour their PR based governance. BJP's print advertisement on the eve of BMC election read, “expensive angioplasty stent now cheaper by 85%; decision of a sensible government”. Modi Government isn't interested in reforms and instead prefers managing headlines over economy.
What should the Government have done to help the poor as well as to not harm the middle/upper class?
1. Create 4 classes of stents instead of current 2 classes.
2. Leave the last one uncapped, so those who could afford have access to newer tech.
3. Adopt an ala carte approach, making available stents at Rs. 7000, Rs. 28000, Rs. 85000 and uncapped.
4. Provide first two only through RGJAY and other schemes.
5. Use the expertise of public sector rate contracts and declare the rates at which all varieties of stents can be bought into India. Get these prices in public domain for everyone’s knowledge and information.
6. Audit the procedures in public and private hospitals through a third party.
7. Audit individual cardiologist’s annual performance to know for which class he is working more.
8. Consider SEZs for implant companies to manufacture these high end products in India.
These suggestions were provided by Dr. Sanjay Oak in his article in Mumbai Mirror.
This is how a handbook of bad policy would read. First, impose price controls. Then watch goods disappear from the market. And finally threaten producers with punishment for the shortages that your price controls have created. Multi-speciality hospitals across the country are reporting a fall in foreign patients due to shortage of premium stents. Patients are instead getting operated in Singapore, Bangkok. Thanks to this move, we are now losing valuable foreign currency too. Why is Indian Gov't promoting reverse medical tourism? Undoubtedly we need to care more for our poor, but we can’t at the same time ignore the desires of millions of people who belong to upper and middle class and who are honest tax payers. Why should they be denied a choice?
Today it’s cardiac stents, tomorrow it will be orthopaedic implants, and after that, maybe oncology drugs. There is no doubt that the government’s intentions are laudable and the efforts are an attempt to ensure equitable distribution of medical care and to curb medical malpractices. But the execution is misdirected and mal-aligned. Hospitals may hike cath lab rent per procedure and try to bridge the gap. Surgeons may prefer bypass surgical procedures. All these regulations appear as knee-jerk reactions done to control medical malpractice. I am not claiming here that everything was hunky-dory in the stent and implant business. But, putting a cap on prices is not the answer to the problem.
While Modi led BJP came to power with the slogan of, "Minimum Government, Maximum Governance". Their actions are nowhere near it. Instead the License Raj that we left off in the 1980s, is making a comeback.
Getting worried about the farming crisis, an elected official (elected officials don’t usually worry about this) was asking the assistant how they can get more people to adopt farming.
The assistant simply said – we can create an advertisement in all
leading news papers in all local languages. The official agreed it’s a good idea and asked the assistant to prepare the ad. When the assistant was done with the ad the official understood why the farming situation is turning into a crisis but not an opportunity.
And the ad goes
Looking for a hard working individual who
Should be willing to toil hard in the sun, get drenched in the rain
My daughters first fund raiser performance next week is to help the farmers. It was a coincidence and the fund raiser is being organized by Save Indian Farmers. So thanks to her, I got to know and learn about another group working on the same cause. Today when I dropped her at her dance class, her teacher asked me if I could talk to the kids about the reason for such a fund raiser. It was an impromptu 3-5 minute conversation. All the kids sat down and looking up towards me as I came forward. I greeted everyone and I said, "Today, I'm going to teach you something about Bharatnatyam". The kids giggled a bit 🙂 and that was our ice breaker.
I started of asking how many kids met a farmer, or know a farmer or visited a village?
Kids: One or two hands raised for visiting a village but no one had met a farmer or know a farmer [Neither did I when I was that age]
Me: What tools does a farmer use?
Kids: hands went up and the answers were
Other farming tools
Me: What do the farmers need to grow a crop?
Kids: Hands went up and one after the other, the answers came in. All of them were accurate
Seeds are expensive and the farmers can't afford to buy them
Water isn't available, there are hardly any rains
Sunlight is too much causing a draught
Fertlizers and chemicals are being used in too much quantities with little results but harmful #health effects
Large lands are only with a few of them, most of the farmers don't have lands
This is exactly the reason why you are performing. When you perform, the people who come to see your performance get to know about these issues. So you are helping create the awareness. Not just about the problems but also some solutions.
So thank you for performing and good luck. Please remember as you grow up, think about the farmers and their problems, and please see how you can help.
(Pic credit - My Daughter)
Any questions kids?
The teacher came in and did an impromptu quiz asking them about the challenges, the issues etc and every one scores on the quiz