Despite the issue of poor state of ESI hospitals with negligible facilities and poor medical aid being highlighted in the media, the authorities turn a deaf ear to the needs of the MSME workers.
These tend to be the workers who contribute 6.4% of their wages for ESI funds but are still deprived of even the basic medical facilities.
City based MSMEs pointed that the situation is turning from bad to worse with no improvements or interventions of the concerned authorities like Punjab Health Systems Corporation (PHSC) or the concerned Ministry.
The ESI slogan “Kahin bhi Kabhi Bhi ESIC Chinta Se Mukti,” sounds ironical because the workers who are assured of being relieved from ‘Chinta’ have to move from pillar to post for emergency medical aid and reimbursement of their medical bills, Jasbir Singh , Chairman Labour Laws MIA(Mohali Industries Association) told KNN.
He revealed the fact that approximately Rs. 10 crore per month is being contributed as ESI Hospital Fund from Mohali but these hospitals and dispensaries still remain ill equipped and lack the ability to serve.
As per the Employees State Insurance Act, 1948 there are provisions to provide immediate cashless medical help to the insured employees in case of sickness, maternity and employment injuries. But instead of adhering to such regulations, many accidents and other cases are usually referred to government hospitals by ESIC staff which leads to out of the pocket expenses by the worker or his employer, he said.
Singh also informed about the shortage of medical staff, absence of orthopaedic doctors or other specialists, inadequate ambulance facility, insufficient procurement of free medicines, no proper inpatient or outpatient care (food, medicine etc). More than 2000 medical reimbursement bills of insured persons still lay pending in ESI dispensary Mohali and Kharar since last 2 years.
Giving out the details, the entrepreneur said, “Gurpreet Kaur IP No. 1210801604 amount Rs.270140, Mahatma Parjapati ip no. 1213158819 amounT Rs.32814,Sanjeev Kumar IP. No. 1213070461 amount Rs 226113 since sept 2014, Dinesh Bhat IP .no. 1213242409 amount Rs.21773 since May 2015 and numerous such cases wait for the dormant ESIC Corporation to serve its rightful role.”
Vinod Kumar, a worker of JU engineering works Mohali, had a major eye injury during working hours in factory and was rushed to the nearest ESIC hospital by his coworkers.
“But as was expected from the negligent ESIC staff he was referred to some alternative non affordable hospital which resulted in loss of sight. Hundreds of such accidents cases across the state go unaddressed day in day out,” said Singh.
MIA officials also said that District Consumer Forum , Mohali has imposed penalty of more than Rs. 6 Lakh on ESIC officers and DHS (ESI) officers on account of deficiency in services in more than 20 consumer complaints but no legitimate measures to curb them have been taken till date.