The government's U-turn doctors' mass transfer started from chief minister Parkash Singh Badal's own village. The transfer orders of the three doctors shifted out of the community health centre located in Badal village in Muktsar district were the first to be cancelled.
So far, even while claiming that last week's decision of 523 transfers was irreversible, health minister Madan Mohan Mittal has rolled back 62.
As per the earlier orders of Tuesday, TB and chest specialist Dr Jastej Singh was transferred to the Bathinda civil hospital, while ortho surgeon Dr Prabhjit Gulati and skin specialist Dr Rajiv Kumar were transferred to the sub-divisional hospital in Gidderbaha. However, in the fresh list of transfers issued by health department under-secretary Manmohan Singh on Saturday, the transfers of all three have been cancelled.
The mass transfers were slated to upgrade 100 hospitals in the state. But the U-turn cites "public interest" and "administrative reasons".
Another indication of transfers being cancelled under influence of VIPs is that five doctors who were earlier transferred out of SAS Nagar district bordering Chandigarh have also been cancelled or "adjusted" back to SAS Nagar district.
Those who have been facilitated include Dr Boby Gulati, a skin specialist originally transferred to Nawanshahr, Dr Jaspreet Singh, an ortho surgeon transferred to Malerkotla; Dr Manjeet Singh, an eye specialist transferred to Faridkot; Dr Pomi Chatrath transferred to Dera Bassi, and Dr Gurcharan Singh, transferred to a primary health centre in Patiala.
"We already expressed the apprehension that those who have influence or money would get their favourite positings back. Only honest people and those without strings would have to suffer. The fresh list has underlined that," said Dr Gagandeep Shergill, general secretary of the PCMS Association.
He said the transfers have opened up another avenue to mint money for the corrupt political leadership and bureaucracy. "This is how it has happened for so many years. First, transfer people at mass scale citing public interest; and then open shops to facilitate their return or 'adjustment," said Nishan Singh, working president of the association.