More than four years after 250 people died in the Kosi flood, eight government doctors are facing arrest in Araria, one of the worst-hit districts, for alleged negligence during the August 2008 disaster.
Araria superintendent of police (SP) SW Lande has ordered the arrest of these doctors after he came to know about an FIR pending against them at Forbesganj police station since August 29, 2008, when flooding was at its peak.
"The FIR was lodged against them after they were found absent from their duty when a vast population was facing tough times due to the floods," Lande told HT.
The Essential Services Maintenance Act mandates health professionals to report for duty during such a calamity.
The doctors against whom the arrest order has been issued are Brahmdeo Kumar (referral hospital, Raniganj), Deepak Kumar Patel (referral hospital, Jokihat), Jamil Akhtar (medical officer, Sikti), Arbind Kumar (medical officer, PHC, Belsandi), Sharat Kumar (medical officer, Baseti PHC), Amarnath Jha, Umesh Prasad Mandal and Vijay Thakur.
Dr Brahmdeo Kumar said the police move was unjust.
"Our suspension was revoked, we were given full salary and I took VRS in 2010 while working at Raniganj in Araria," he told HT.
He claimed the case was owing to a 'communication gap', for which the then civil surgeon (Araria) was to blame.
Incumbent Araria civil surgeon BK Thakur, however, declined to comment.
Dr Ajay Kumar of Bihar Health Service Association claimed most of the doctors facing arrest had worked during the flood.