The Gauhati Medical College and Hospital, the biggest hospital of the northeast is plagued with the problems of mismanagement, and is not even responding to PM Narendra Modi’s concern about the plight of the contractual workers.
The PMO on March 19 sent a letter (No. 2018/03/19CEAGMCH) to the Deputy Secretary of the Health and Family Welfare department of Assam seeking immediate report on the matter. But surprisingly till date, the chief superintendent of the hospital and principal of the medical college Dr Atindra Kumar Adhikari never felt it necessary to respond to PMO letter.
A huge pool of contractual staffs appointed by the Hospital Management Society remained underpaid for years overlooking the fact that they are the backbone of the day-to-day functioning of the hospital.
The Director of Medical Education, Dr Anup Kumar Barman confirmed Northeast Now that the GMCH authorities had not submitted any report of its contractual employees to the government. “Till date the GMCH authorities have not submitted any report in this regard,” Dr Barman said.
On April 24 this year, the Deputy Secretary of the Assam Health and Family Welfare Department Bipul Kumar Das after receiving the PMO letter, wrote to DME Dr Barman, copies of which were also sent to the GMCH and PMO.
The contractual employees of GMCH like laboratory technician, computer operator, data entry operator, pharmacist, staff nurse and Grade-IV are recruited by Hospital Management Society. Over five hundred contractual employees work in the GMCH.
As hospital services come under the Essential Services Maintenance Act or ESMA, it is understood that these contractual staffs render their services even after being deprived of minimum facilities they are entitled to. Some of the employees are working even after their contractual periods are over. The Hospital Management Society never felt it necessary to renew their contracts.
On March 19 this year, the Contractual Employees’ Association of Gauhati Medical College and Hospital wrote a letter seeking PMO’s intervention into their problems.
DME, Dr Barman sought reports on the selection process of the contractual employees, eligibility criteria, joining date, details of salaries fixed, receipt and expenditure of the Hospital Management Society and other expenditure from the GMCH authorities and directed them to submit the report by May 15.
When asked whether the selection process of the contractual employees of the GMCH has the approval of the government, Dr Barman said, “Government approval is not required while recruiting contractual employees. Hospital authorities may inform the government as the hospital management has been given free hand to recruit such staffs.”
It is alleged that the contractual employees are deprived of any hike in their salaries since February 2016. Employees recruited in pharmacy and registration room cannot avail of their weekly offs. Moreover they even do not get any over time allowance. Not only this, the contractual employees of the GMCH are not entitled to get any leave even if they fall sick or during the death of their parents. The tale of their exploitation and deprivation never ends here. They are even not entitled to get free medical services despite rendering their services as contractual employees of the GMCH.
Though the achievement in the health sector by health minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma is highlighted always, he is apparently loath to take initiative to give succor to these hapless contractual employees for reasons best known to him. Sarma’s silence on the letter sent by the PMO to the Assam government on March 19 this year also surprised many.