Kolkata, Nov 11. There was commotion in a city private hospital on Thursday after its management refused to release a patient, whose relatives had paid the entire bill amount of Rs 40,000 in coins – in view of demonetisation of higher currency notes.
Sukanta Chauli, a resident of West Bengal’s Howrah district, was admitted to B.P. Poddar Hospital and Medical Research Ltd at New Alipore in south Kolkata four days back after being detected with dengue.
The hospital authority, on Thursday, informed Chauli’s family that he was fit for discharge and asked them to clear the dues.
According to the patient party, the hospital refused to accept denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 notes.
“The hospital told us to first clear all dues amounting to Rs 40,000 in denominations other than Rs 500 and Rs 1000, as those are now useless,” said a relative of the patient.
In a desperate attempt to release Chauli, his relatives turned to their piggy banks and arranged the entire bill amount of Rs 40,000 in coins; which the hospital authority refused to accept.
“We have arranged for the due amount in coins but the hospital won’t accept them now as they say it is logistically impossible to count so many coins,” a member of Chauli’s family complained.
“They came up with bags of coins and piggy banks to complete the payment. We refused to accept that initially as it is impossible to count so many coins,” a hospital employee said.
The situation got out of hand as the hospital staff and the patient party engaged in a war of words over the payment. A television journalist was reportedly beaten up by the hospital security guards and sustained a head injury.
“The television journalist was badly beaten up when he enquired about the issue,” an eye witness said.
But after matters turned ugly, the hospital buckled and agreed to release the patient by accepting the coins.
The hospital management said the turn of events would be probed.
“We have accepted the coins and the patient has been discharged today. We can not comment on the altercation with the TV reporter before probing who beat up whom,” Sumit Khan, the hospital vice president,