Gujarat’s Dalit icon Jignesh Mevani, now an independent MLA, has once again been detained by the police. This time for protesting against the Government’s decision to hand over the Civil Hospital in Dahod to a private pharmaceutical company.

Jignesh was leading a protest against handing over the Civil Hospital in the tribal district of Dahod to the Zydus Cadila pharmaceutical company which, the residents allege, has started charging high fees from the patients, mostly tribals.

The Civil Hospital at Dahod, the headquarters of the tribal district by the same name, was handed over to Ahmedabad-based Zydus Cadila pharma in October last year for starting a medical college.

Locals have alleged that the hospital run by the Zydus Cadila does not have any doctors with MBBS degree and the only seven doctors working there are homoeopaths.

Apart from charging high fees the hospital charges even for the blood supplied by the Red Cross for free, said some of the protesters who joined Mevani in the protest.

This is not the first time the government was handed over a hospital built with public money to the private sector. The Bhuj General Hospital, which collapsed in the January 2001 earthquake and was rebuilt ws, was also handed over to a corporate house.