There is once again some discontent within All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The administration has intimated the various departments of the institute of changes made in the committees functional on the campus, And a section of the faculty is reading it as politically motivated — a move to remove the retired director, Dr P Venugopal’s loyalists from positions of power.
In a memorandum issued on Friday, July 18, AIIMS administration intimated of changes made to the 18 committees functional for various purposes on the campus. The memorandum, a copy of which is with the Hindustan Times, informs about the decision taken by the governing body in its meetings held on December 12, 2007, about revamping all important committees like the medical board, sexual harassment committee, research committee, hospital management board, project implementation committee, dean's committee, radiation safety committee, medical publication committee among others. Last Friday, the administration decided to implement the decision.
Some faculty members said the move has been planned keeping in mind the vested interests of certain people. They also claimed most senior professors and heads of departments have been selectively excluded from the committees. “There are about 500 faculty members and some select members have been repeated in most committees. It clearly denotes favoritism,” said Doctor Kumar Harsh, president, Resident Doctors’ Association at AIIMS.
“What’s the hurry of reconstituting the committees? How can the governing body or the health ministry decide the status of the committees here? Every time the director changes, are they going to make changes like that. No one is concerned about the institute,” said a senior doctor.
The doctors also have a problem with the induction of Mukul Gupta, the legal counsel for AIIMS, in the ethics committee. “Why has a lawyer been taken in the ethics committee? What would he know about medical ethics,” asked Dr Harsh.
Sources in the AIIMS administration denied the allegations and termed the revamp as a “very very routine exercise”. “Every year or so, committees are reconstituted and it is one of those changes. There’s nothing more to it. I am surprised and shocked to see that people are trying to make an issue out it,” said a top official from the administration. “If anyone had a problem, he or she could have complained to the acting director about it. So far no complaint has been received, either in writing or otherwise,” the official added.