Hospitals in Hyderabad are reportedly asking patients and their families to pay for parking, despite the Telangana government clarifying that those providing hospital bills or outpatient receipts don’t have to pay for parking.
A Telangana government GO that came into effect on April 1, 2018, said that all commercial establishments can charge for parking beyond 30 minutes. Hospitals are considered commercial establishments, on par with malls.
However, a clarification on the GO made it clear that free parking can be availed if the customer provides a proof of purchase at the establishment – in the case of hospitals, by providing hospital bills or Out Patient Department receipts.
But activists allege that hospitals charge anywhere between Rs 20 and Rs 50, with additional charges on an hourly basis, for those visiting the hospitals.
Vijay Gopal, an anti-corruption activist from Hyderabad on Wednesday approached the Banjara Hills police and filed a petition against Rainbow hospital for not following the GO. “It's not just Rainbow, hospitals like Apollo, KIMS, CARE, none of them provide free parking. The hospitals are charging not just those visiting the patients admitted to the hospitals, but also the patients who are visiting the hospital,” he said.
Non-compliance with the GO could attract penal action against the violators as per the provisions of Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC) Act 1955.
The need for a GO to provide free parking came after shopping malls and multiplexes started charging exorbitant parking fees. However, after the GO came into effect, stand-alone theatres and hospitals did not implement the GO, citing that they do not come under the ambit of the GO.
The Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporation (GHMC), the enforcing authority on the matter, on April 24, 2018, then came out with a clarification that the free parking applies to stand alone theatres, hospitals and others as they are registered commercial establishments. The clarification makes a mention that free parking can be availed after providing a hospital bill or Out Patient Department receipt.
“The GO is flawed as providing just 30 minutes of free parking is not realistic. When you visit the hospital there is no way that you will be able to avail the free parking as it more than 30 minutes to get a doctor’s appointment. Either all hospitals should make parking free or there is a need to relook at the GO and if possible exempt hospitals,” said Gopal.
“The hospitals have leased out the parking grounds to third-party parking management firms, this is illegal under section 24 of the Telangana Apartments Act 1987," he added.
“But their redressal system is non-responsive, it would be better for the public to reach out to their local police station if they find any establishment violating the free parking rules," added Gopal.