Haryana health minister Anil Vij created a controversy on Monday by questioning the construction of a government medical college in Karnal, asking how such college facility could not be raised on a district hospital land.
The construction of Kalpana Chawla Government Medical College (KCGMC) was sanctioned in 2010 during the Bhupinder Singh Hooda regime. Rs 143 crore has been spent on the project so far.
Later medical, paramedical and other staff were shifted from a civil hospital to the KCGMC on deputation on December 1, 2012. At present, the site has a fully functional medical facility.
The health minister’s ‘objection’ indirectly contradicts chief minister Manohar Lal Khattar’s Saturday announcement that Kalpana Chawala Medical University would be constructed in Karnal, which will have administrative and academic link with the upcoming college, indirectly validifying the construction of college for now.
Khattar also said that the director of the upcoming medical college would draw up the plan for the university also.
During a surprise visit to the construction site on Monday, Vij said no one in his ministry knew that KCGMC was being built in place of a district hospital.
There was neither a civil hospital nor a college holding classes. There is a lot of confusion, he said.
When referred to the chief minister’s announcement over the college linked university on Saturday, Vij said that he was unaware of the recent development related to his ministry.
“In fact, I could not attend the meeting due to certain unavoidable reasons. Not only I but even the top bureaucrats in the health department were not aware of how a medical college replaced civil hospital,” he said.
Sources said the reason behind the confusion was that Manohar Lal Khattar and Anil Vij have strained relations.
But, Vij’s surprise visit has left the doctors working there annoyed. They said the health minister had every right to question the doctors.
“But snubbing in front of cameras and local political leaders would lower the morale of the medical professionals,” they said.
Civil surgeon shifted
Health minister Anil Vij also ordered transfer of Karnal civil surgeon Vandana Bhatia. “When there is no civil hospital in Karnal and you sit away from patients at Red Cross building, you are not needed here. Jab aap to mufat ke hi tankhwa le rahe ho, to aap ko kahin aur transfer karna chahihe (Your are drawing salary for no work and deserve to be transferred),” the minister was heard snubbing the official. However, the state health department officials said the work of the CMO was to execute and oversee all health-based programmes in the district.
“As the CMO is also responsible for overlooking all community health centres and public health centres, it is wrong to say that the medical officer is supposed to sit in an office or attend patients,” said an official.
Sanitary official suspended
During an inspection that lasted nearly three hours, Vij spotted algae in the overhead water tanks and immediately ordered suspension of sanitary inspector Tilak Raj.
He also directed to take samples of the water and ensure stern action against erring officials on the basis of the sample report.