Rawalpindi - There is no check on the skyrocketing price hike in the canteens/cafés of allied hospitals due to absence of any monitoring mechanism.

Tens of thousands of patients, their attendants, paramedics and other staffers have been facing 40 to 100 per cent price hike in the canteens/cafés of District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital, Benazir Bhutto Hospital (BBH) and Holy Family Hospital (HFH) owing to absence of monitoring by the concerned officials.

Sources said that the contractors of the canteens/cafés/hotels have been violating the price lists submitted with hospital managements at the time of getting contracts.

According to survey conducted by The Nation on Sunday, the owners of canteens/cafés/hotels have not displayed the price lists of edible/grocery items at some visible places and are selling all the items including burgers, vegetable rolls, mineral water, biscuit, buns, cakes, fresh fruit juices, milk shake, tea, food, milk and other items at very high rates.

The owners of canteens/cafés/hotels are selling tea at Rs 24 per cup against its fixed price Rs 20, pakoras at Rs 70 per 250 grams instead of Rs 50, samosa at 120 per dozen, vegetable roll at Rs 15, chana chat and dahe bharay are being sold at Rs 60 instead of Rs 40, juices/milk shakes at Rs 60 against fixed price of Rs 50, and burger at Rs 60 instead of Rs 45. Similarly, the shopkeepers are earning illegal profit of Rs 10 to 50 on other grocery as well as food items in the canteens.

While talking to The Nation, the patients and their attendants claimed that the managements of allied hospitals were not taking interest in controlling the ever-increasing inflation in the canteens/cafés/hotels being run inside the hospitals.

“Only in HFH, the canteen/cafés/hotel owners are colleting illegal profit of millions of rupees. Pakoras are available at Rs 50 per 250 grams in open market whereas the shopkeepers are selling pakoras at Rs 70 in HFH and no body is stopping them from fleecing the poor visitors,” said Ajmal Khan, an attendant of a patient.

Another female patient Bashiran Bibi was of view that most of the essential items were being sold at BBH canteen at double rates. “The prices of grocery and edible items are touching the sky and I blame Medical Superintendent Asif Qafir Mir for not taking action against the profiteers,” she commented.

Some doctors and nurses even also protested against the price hike on canteens.

The shopkeepers, while taking to this scribe, said that they were compelled to increase prices because they got the commodities at a high rate from wholesale market. When this scribe questioned as to why they had not displayed price lists on some visible places, they replied, “Our contractors can give answer of this question. You (this scribe) may contact them for more information.”

The contractors and medical superintendents of allied hospitals could not be contacted for their comments. Rawalpindi Medical College (RMC) and Allied Hospitals (AHs) Chief Executive Prof Dr Muhammad Umar did not attend his cellphone despite repeated attempts made by this scribe to get his version.