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Cracks in AIIMS faculty, many threaten to quit

While a section of its members are supporting Director P Venugopal, others are accusing him of being 'autocratic'.

india Updated: Jun 16, 2006 21:44 IST

Cracks appeared on Friday in the AIIMS Faculty Association with a section of its members supporting its Director P Venugopal embroiled in a war of attrition with Health Minister Ambumani Ramadoss while another group accusing the Director of being 'autocratic' and demanding an inquiry into the functioning of the institute.

Venugopal got the support from AIIMS Resident Doctors' Association (RDA) whose members threatened to resign in case he quits.

Claiming that most faculty members backed Venugopal, the Association Vice President Binod Khaitan said, "Despite our differences with the Director on various issues in the past, we are fully supporting his demand for the institute's autonomy".

"How can the Health Minister be so indifferent to his (Venugopal) threat of resignation?" he said.

"On one hand, Ramadoss says the ministry is working on retaining the competent faculty of AIIMS and on the other he is not bothered when Venugopal says he would resign," he said.

"He (Venugopal) is an internationally renowned surgeon and we have full confidence in his capabilities as administrator... We will resign if he is made to resign under the situation," said Sudip Sen, a member of RDA.

Venugopal had on Thursday threatened to resign from his post after three officials were removed from their posts by the health ministry during his leave.

On the other hand, a group of senior faculty members of AIIMS wrote a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh charging Venugopal with being "autocratic" and demanded an immediate inquiry into the functioning of AIIMS.

"For the last three years, the institute has been deteriorating steadily on all fronts, thanks to the autocratic functioning of the Director, total absence of transparency and accountability in administration and callous neglect of common patients", the letter said.

"A group of faculty members claiming to represent the entire faculty met you and alleged that AIIMS' autonomy is being interfered with by the Health Ministry. The fact is this very group of faculty in collusion with the local administration, in violation of conduct rules, had pampered the agitating medicos so much that they dared to reject your appeal time and again," the letter said.

"Therefore, their rhetoric about merit of autonomy is a nefarious design to shield the anarchy prevailing in the institute," the letter added.

The doctors claimed most of the Association members were against the Director and did not support him.

The letter is signed by senior doctors of the faculty including Sunil Chimbur, Ravi Saksena, Kaushal Verma, Kameshwar Prasad and SL Yadav.

First Published: Jun 16, 2006 13:52 IST