Northeast Delhi MP J P Agarwal’s Report Card

Here is a review of a project undertaken by Agarwal’s MPLAD fund


Danish Raza | September 17, 2010

JP Agarwal
JP Agarwal

In the last Lok Sabha elections, Jai Prakash Agrawal was the Congress’ last minute replacement for Jagdish Tytler. The party wanted to come clean by dropping Tytler after the capital witnessed protests over his alleged involvement in the 1984 anti-Sikh riots.

Thus, Agrawal, a former president of the Delhi Pradesh Congress Committee, fought and won from the Delhi northeast constituency. Agrawal had earlier represented Chandni Chowk, but this was his first tryst with the Delhi northeast- a constituency majorly comprising of unauthorized colonies and slum dwellings.

Project: Mobile dispensaries

Objective: To provide medicine free of cost at the doorstep of residents

Date of commencement: March 23, 2010

Status: Completed

Cost incurred: Rs 10 lakh

Executing agency: Municipal Corporation of Delhi

We went to East Delhi’s Shastri Park area to see how the residents find the mobile dispensaries allocated from Agarwal’s MPLAD fund.

Its 10: 30 am. A Maruti Omni van stops at Shiv Mandir in East Delhi’s Shastri Park area. Within minutes, a crowd of around 15 including women, elderly, children surround the van- a mobile dispensary which comes here every Friday.

This is one of the four mobile dispensaries which were given to the Municipal Corporation of Delhi (MCD) from Jai Prakash Agrawal’s MPLAD fund at an expense of Rs 10 lakh in March this year. Now, the MCD has total 16 dispensaries in its fleet.

Dr Ashok Alhan, Medical Officer and Ajit Singh pharmacist in the dispensary attend around 40 to patients in an hour at various locations which they call’spots’. They cover six spots on three days- two spots each on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

They have medicines for almost all the basic ailments- cough, cold, fever, head ache, body rashes etc. “Bahut jaldi dawai mil jaati hai yahaan. Jyaada jhanjhat nahin na hai,” (they give us medicine within no time. There are no hassles here), says Laxmi, 67, who has come to the dispensary with her grand children.

They appear fit but she wants medicine for them too.

“This is the problem. Since we do not charge anything, they want medicine for entire family. At times, they do not even bring the patient to us and demand his or her medicine. We have made a policy to attend to only those patients who will physically come to the dispensary,” say Dr Ashok urging the patients to come in a queue.

Aslam has pain in his left ear. Dr Ashiok gives him an ear drop and tells him that he must get it checked from an ENT specialist.

“There is lack of awareness. They believe we have solution for each and every disease- big, small, serious and seasonal. This is wrong.”

Dr Ashok says that the CNG kit in the van’s rear seat plus the medicines hardly leave any space for him to sit. “We have demanded bigger vehicle. Let’s see.”

In emergency situation and at the time of festivals such as chhat pooja and navratra, these dispensaries are diverted from regular spots to new locations.
MCD launched mobile dispensaries around 20 years ago. The agency identifies areas in the capital with people do not have access to medical clinics. Sometimes, the residents approach MCD with the demand of mobile dispensaries.

In either of the cases, the residents find the mobile dispensaries much cheaper and better option than the conventional clinics.




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