Amid row over bringing rural medicos under health department, an idea to create ‘dying cadre’
Doctors in rural development department were recruited in 2006 when government opened schools and dispensaries under zila parishads because hardly anyone was ready to serve in these areas.punjab Updated: Jan 07, 2018 10:58 IST
With the proposal to merge dispensaries run by the rural development department of Punjab with the health department reaching a deadlock on the issue of seniority of doctors, a new proposal has emerged — to create a separate cadre for such doctors once they come under the health department.
It would be referred to as ‘dying cadre’ as no further recruitment would be done in it, and it would cease to exist once all doctors in it retire.
The decision was taken at a meeting of officials of both departments, was chaired by chief secretary Karan Avtar Singh, on Thursday, it is learnt. The matter has now been referred to the advocate general (AG) to check its legality, officials told HT.
The merger idea was mooted by health minister Brahm Mohindra to tackle staff shortage of doctors with the health department for statewide deputation.
Even as the rural development department gave its go-ahead, the plan got stuck as doctors of rural dispensaries demanded seniority in the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) cadre from the date of their original joining.The health department wanted these rural medicos to join as juniors to PCMS doctors.
Doctors in the rural development department were recruited in 2006 when the government opened schools and dispensaries under zila parishads because hardly any doctor or teacher under the respective departments was ready to serve in rural areas for longer periods.
In all, 1,186 dispensaries were opened to cater the a population of 10,000 each; and it was mandatory for the staff to serve in rural areas throughout their service.
Then, teachers of such rural schools were brought under the education department in 2014.
For the doctors, officials had batted for a middle path — of the ‘dying cadre’ — to avoid a court battle as they believed the rural medicos would have a good chance to get such seniority if they filed a case.
Dr Aslum Parvez, state president of Rural Medical Services Association, said, “We are serving in the rural areas fort the past more than 11 years. And now suddenly the health department wants us to join as juniors in the PCMS. Our demand is very clear. We will not serve in the health department as ‘B’ category of doctors.”