Medical fraternity, including specialist doctors, now stands with the MBBS rural medical officers (RMOs) in their agitation against the rural development department that has authorised the block development and panchayat officers (BDPOs) to check their working.
No supply of medicines for the past 19 months and the dilapidated condition of the dispensaries has forced the RMOs into agitation against the state government. Rural Medical Services Association (RMSA), Punjab, has reported a disrupted supply of medicines to 1,186 rural dispensaries said that the checking authority to the BDPOs had added insult to the injury.
Punjab State Human Rights Commission (PSHRC) had taken suo-motu notice of an HT report of June 20 that highlighted the plight of village population because of the discontinued supply of medicines. The commission had asked the state rural development and panchayat department to file a reply within four weeks.
Dr Kashmir Singh Sohal, president of the Specialist Doctors Association of Punjab, on Saturday condemned the decision to authorise the BDPOs to judge qualified doctors. "The BDPOs are lower ranked, so being judged by them is a blow to the selfrespect of doctors," said Dr Sohal.
Punjab Civil Medical Service Association (PCMSA) president Dr Hardeep Singh has demanded that the rural medical officers be shifted to the health department.
"If the state gover nment cannot provide them with basic infrastructure and medicine supply, it is better to give the dispensaries back to the health department," he said.
The Rural Medical Services Association has called an urgent meeting of its executive body on July 13 in Ludhiana. RMSA state president Dr Aslam Parvez said: "Discrimination against the doctors just because they work in a different department is uncalled for. We will raise the matter in the All-India Government Doctors Association meeting in Chandigarh on July 19 and 20."