From within Patna’s power circle, two whistleblowers
Home Secy’s wife Parveen Amanullah and Dy CM Modi’s cousin Rekha Modi are leading campaign to clean up Patna’s premier medical college, hospital
Patna, May 31: One is the Home Secretary’s wife. The other the Deputy Chief Minister’s cousin. But for some time now, Parveen Amanullah and Rekha Modi have been giving the Bihar Government sleepless nights over the mess in the state’s premier government hospital, the Patna Medical College and Hospital (PMCH).
In the process, they have laid bare the Nitish Kumar Government’s claims of major achievements in the health sector.
Parveen Amanullah, the wife of Home Commissioner Afzal Amanullah, and Rekha Modi, Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Modi’s cousin, have clashed with doctors at the PMCH, filed eight applications under the Right to Information Act, targeting doctors as well as hospital administrators, and are now planning to file a PIL in the Patna High Court.
Last week, matters reached a head when PMCH doctors went on a strike against the two, accusing them of behaving like “extra-constitutional” authorities.
Health Minister Chandra Mohan Rai had to intervene and plead with Parveen Amanullah and Rekha Modi to keep away from the PMCH.
“The Health Minister told us not to go there so we have stopped for the time being. But we are not going to succumb to pressure,” says Rekha Modi.
A social activist who works in the slums of Patna, sensitising the poor on family planning and other health issues, Rekha Modi says she heard many stories there of the PMCH staff’s negligence and callousness. She found a willing comrade in Parveen, who joined her three weeks ago. “I am working with Rekha since I want to contribute something to society,” says Parveen.
During their rounds of the PMCH, they found patients were not being treated properly, senior doctors were not present after noon and the Government’s free medicine programme was not working.
“As social activists we raised our voice and tried to act as facilitators so that the poor got proper attention, and this enraged the doctors,” says Rekha Modi. Accused of putting the Government in a spot, the two react strongly. “We are working as responsible citizens. The Government does not sit in the PMCH. Since January we have been visiting the PMCH and writing letters to all concerned including the Chief Minister about the mess in the hospital, but nobody has bothered to reply,” avers Modi.