Medical fraternity calls for removal of Punjab health minister
Condemning Dr Raj Bahadur’s humiliation, Indian Medical Association, Punjab, threatens state-level agitation if action not taken against health minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra
A day after Punjab health minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra forced Baba Farid University of Health Sciences (BFUHS) vice-chancellor Dr Raj Bahadur to lie on a dirty patient bed during an inspection, several associations of doctors, including the state unit of the Indian Medical Association (IMA), expressed anguish over the incident and urged chief minister Bhagwant Mann to intervene.
Dr Paramjit Singh Mann, the IMA Punjab president, said that more than 10,000 members of the organisation condemned the behaviour of the state health minister with Dr Raj Bahadur. “It was not only humiliating but inhuman as well. We will send a representation to chief minister Bhagwant Mann seeking the removal of the health minister. The CM must ask his minister to apologise publicly. If no action is taken, the IMA plans a state-level action. Even Dr Raj Bahadur has resigned following the incident, this will be very demoralising for doctors,” he said.
Who will take charge after humiliation?
Dr SS Gill, a former V-C of BFUHS, said that the act of the health minister was humiliating and he strongly condemns it. “Dr Raj Bahadur is a medical professional with the highest academic standing in Punjab. Now, who will they bring to replace him? Will anyone with such a stature join, particularly after this incident? It is a constitutional post appointed by the governor and the minister has disrespected it. It’s not the V-C’s responsibility to check dirty mattresses in the hospital, it’s the duty of the principal and the medical superintendent. The minister should have asked them and not humiliated medical professionals in front of people. There is no superspecialist doctor in the government hospitals in Punjab. There is only one neurosurgeon and also shortage of cardiologists. This is what they should have been concerned about. Only clean mattresses will not save people,” he added.
Condemning the behaviour of the minister, the Indian Orthopaedic Association strongly condemns the behaviour of the health minister. It also requests CM Bhagwant Mann to get resignation from the minister for going beyond his limits.
Black day for medical practitioners
Indian Orthopaedic Association president Ramesh K Sen said: “Our medical profession is under a lot of pressure from political administrators. Some of them when given the authority by the public for betterment of the society, have been unable to digest these powers bestowed on them, tend to vomit it out at every nook and corner. The derogatory behaviour of a Punjab health minister with a man at the highest pedestal of academics makes us to feel that we are being ruled by the Taliban. The power seems to have gone to some individuals who never deserved it. This is surely a black day for medical services in the state of Punjab. While ignoring their own responsibility to share the problems of administration and state resources, the blame is being put on a person who had taken the Baba Farid Medical University to its highest ever level.”Punjab Civil Medical Services Association (PCMSA) has also strongly condemned the unceremonious treatment meted out to the BFUHS VC by the health minister.
PCMSA state president Dr Akhil Sarin said, “The PCMSA strongly condemns the unceremonious treatment meted out to the V-C by the health minister. Whatever the reason, the way the V-C was maltreated, is deplorable. Such blatant disrespect for a senior health functionary is appalling, to say the least. The face-off has actually led to the state losing its only spine surgeon.”
Dr Harpal Singh Sethi, professor and unit head of orthopaedic surgery at Dayanand Medical College (DMC), Ludhiana, said the minister misbehaved with the V-C. “Can he make a commissioner of MC walk through a water logged road? Can he make an SSP manage a chowk with traffic jam?” he asked.