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Kejriwal's Promise of 1,000 Mohalla Clinics: Reality Check, a Year Later

Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had announced that 1,000 'Mohalla clinics' will come up in the national capital in a year. A year later, there are only over a hundred mohalla clinics that are operational and the promised deadline has been extended till March 2017.

Zeba Warsi | CNN-News18

Updated:April 18, 2017, 12:49 PM IST
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New Delhi: Amid much fanfare last year, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal announced that 1,000 'Mohalla clinics' will come up in the national capital in a year, and also patted his own government for being "sabse tej" in the country for constructing schools and hospitals in record time.

A year later, there are only over a hundred mohalla clinics that are operational and the promised deadline has been extended till March 2017.

CNN-News18 visited the sole mohalla clinic in deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia's Patparganj consitutency.

On an average 200 patients visit this clinic every day between 9am to 1pm.

While the people are grateful to receive basic medical treatment and blood tests free of cost, they still await the promise of one centre in every neighbourhood.

Ameya Kumar, 28, says, "We hear tall claims of there being over a thousand mohalla clinics, one in every neighbourhood. The initiative is good but we are hoping for more."

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Leela Devi is a mother of two. She tells CNN-News18 that she couldn't be more grateful to the Delhi CM. "My two little kids are at an age where they constantly need medical care. At least we get basic medical treatment for free. I'm saving so much money through these clinics."

In Trilokpuri constiuency, there are 2 such clinics. One of them is located in a narrow lane and is queued up with patients almost every morning. It may not be the ideal place for a medical centre but the locals are content with a neighbourhood dispensary rather than face hassles in a government hospital for their everyday illnesses.

Rajesh Pratap, 48, says, "This place is more accessible than government hospitals. We had to wait for hours at Lal Bahadur Shastri hospital for our turn to get a free blood test. That is taken care of here."

Each Clinic has a staff of four: an MBBS doctor, an auxiliary nursing mid-wife, a person to collect blood samples and a helper.

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Each Clinic offers 110 essential drugs and 212 diagnostic tests to people absolutely free.

The doctor gets paid Rs 30 per patient.

The opposition has criticised mohalla clinics for not having a qualified pharmacist to dispense medicines; the job is done by untrained helpers or auxiliary nursing mid-wife.

Most of the clinics are not 'as fancy' as the one inaugurated by Kejriwal last year. The blood samples collected at mohalla clinics are sent to private laboratories which usually give results in a day.

A multitask helper in Patparganj clinic tells us that laboratories with the best bids are given contracts for mohalla clinics. "All 212 listed tests are provided to patients absolutely free of cost. Tests are done and the results are received within a day."

Several mohalla clinics were allegedly closed down by MCD for not having proper clearances. Former L-G Najeeb Jung did not sanction Delhi government's plan to build 300 clinics in MCD and government schools.

The present L-G Anil Baijal has approved mohalla clinics in schools as long as they follow all provisions - a separate gated entry is a must.

The AAP-ruled Delhi government blames BJP run MCD and former L-G for failing to give timely clearances for the indefinite delay in the completion of this 'dream project'.

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AAP Delhi convenor Dilip Pandey says, "The delay has been because of MCD and former L-G Najeeb Jung. They didn't sanction most of proposed clinics. Honourable L-G Anil Baijal has promised us that he will provide us with full support. We are hopeful of completing the project by the end of this year."

The AAP is boasting about the success of this project ahead of the MCD polls.

ALSO READ: 'Congress Doesn't See AAP as Factor in Delhi Civic Polls'

| Edited by: Bijaya Das
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