Move to make rural dispensaries de-addiction centres hits a hurdle
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Move to make rural dispensaries de-addiction centres hits a hurdle

Staff shortage will mar functioning of these centres as state rural development dept has already decided to allow some doctors to join health department.

punjab Updated: Jul 24, 2018 14:36 IST
Ravinder Vasudeva
Ravinder Vasudeva
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
de-addiction centres,Punjab rural development,Punjab drug menace
(Representative Image)

At a time when the Punjab rural development and panchayati raj department has announced that the rural dispensaries under its ambit will also be run as “root-level” drug de-addiction centres, its move to allow some doctors to join the health department has become a roadblock in its ambitious plan to fight drugs.

In the latest decision, the rural development department has deferred for one year the contentious merger of dispensaries under its purview with that of the health department. It has announced that these dispensaries will be run as drug de-addiction centres besides providing existing services.

The department, however, has also decided that the doctors who are willing to join the health department can do so anytime.

There is no consensus among doctors working in rural dispensaries over shifting to the health department. As many as 96 doctors working in these facilities have already given their consent to shift.

“There is already a shortage of doctors in rural dispensaries. Against 1,186 posts in these dispensaries in the state, only 765 doctors are working currently. Allowing 97 doctors to shift to the health department will mean creating more shortage. How will the department fulfill its plan to fight against drugs?” asked Dr Aslum Parvez, an office-bearer of the Rural

Medical Services Association of Punjab. The state government last year had decided to merge the dispensaries and staff saying the rural doctors will be merged in the Punjab Civil Medical Services (PCMS) cadre.

But the proposal hit a hurdle as most of the rural doctors refused to accept the proposal until they were given seniority in the Punjab Civil Medical Services cadre since the date of their joining in the rural development department.

The decision to ‘put off’ the merger was taken in a meeting of Rural Development department with the representatives of rural medicos last week.

When contacted, rural development minister Tript Bajwa said he is aware of the possibility of shortage of staff due to shifting of some doctors.

“In case of shortage, we will request the chief minister to allow us to recruit more doctors under the rural development ministry. Our fight against drugs is at a decisive stage and our department will take it to a logical conclusion,” he said.

The anti-drug plan

According to a press release by the rural development minister last week, five-day workshops will be organised to train the doctors before giving them the task of eradicating drugs and treating addicts.

The doctors would be deputed in the villages to provide treatment to addicts and provide them counselling. Besides, the staff and doctors will hold seminars in villages to raise awareness against drugs.

First Published: Jul 24, 2018 14:36 IST