Amid row over claim of headship of the department between two top ENT doctors at the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), Chandigarh, one of claimants to the post of the head of the department has sought voluntary retirement from service.
Sources in the PGIMER administration told HT that a few weeks back Dr Ashok Gupta, a professor in the ENT department, submitted his papers for voluntary retirement to the institute director. Dr Gupta has been involved in a legal battle with Dr Naresh Kumar Panda, the present head, for the post for years.
Significantly, his application for voluntary retirement was not routed through the department, but was directly submitted to the director.
Sources said that in his application, he has pointed to issues related to the functioning and freedom of work at the department. Following that, the director held a meeting with both the doctors and tried to address the grievances mentioned by Dr Gupta. Sources revealed that the director had not accepted the application so far. The final decision will be taken by the governing body of the institute, which has the union health minister as its president.
With this voluntary retirement application, Dr Gupta has once again brought the issue of rotation in headship at the institute to the centre-stage. Even in its recent meeting, the faculty association raised the issue and demanded that the post of the head should be a tenure post and should rotate within various faculty members.
There are several head of the departments, who have been occupying the chair of head of department (HoD) for more than 20 years.
There are at least ten HoDs who have been holding the same post for more than 10 years.
Dr Panda was appointed as head of the department in 2005. However, Dr Gupta claimed that he should become the head as he is senior to him. The matter was taken to court and even went up the Supreme Court, but Dr Gupta failed to get a favourable decision.