Salaries of more than 300 employees working under the civil surgeon’s office have been held till further orders due to alleged negligence of the health department.
A court in Gurdaspur had directed the department to pay dues worth Rs 1.90 crore to a retired doctor and ordered freezing of salary head of the Hoshiarpur civil surgeon as the doctor concerned was last posted at the Garhshankar civil hospital, but the department failed to challenge the orders within the stipulated period of 90 days.
An appeal should have been filed right away but the department moved just one day before the expiry of the specified period, resulting in adjournment of the case. Sources revealed that the public prosecutor could not prepare the reply at such a short notice.
The staff received a big jolt when it came in their notice that their salaries had been stopped by the treasury. They condemned the administration for not taking the matter seriously and decided to file an individual appeal in the Punjab and Haryana High Court.
"It is none of our business if the department has to pay something to someone. Staff salaries are not government property which can be sealed to settle official liabilities. It is for the government to see how it arranges the amount", said Dr Ajay Bagga, district immunization officer.
He revealed that the medical staff would contribute from their pockets to hire a lawyer to get relief from the high court.
Civil surgeon Dr Surjit Singh said he himself became aware of the court orders just a few days ago. "The matter was being pursued by Garhshankar senior medical officer", he said, refuting charges of ignoring gravity of the situation.