Assam doctors refuse to report for work

Government doctors refusing to report for duty in the various posts lying vacant in Assam have threatened to put in their papers should the government attempt to take disciplinary action against them. In response to the latest development, state Health Minister Dr Bhumidhar Barman conceded that the government had failed to rein in the erring doctors. Barman had earlier said on the floor of the assembly that his ministry would take stringent action against the doctors who refused to report to their posts. According to sources, there were at least 445 such positions lying vacant in various state government hospitals and primary health centres (PHCs).

Among the reasons cited by the doctors for their refusal to report for work was the lack of security in militancy affected districts such as Kokrajhar, Uttar Cachar and Karbi Anglong. They feared for their lives in such areas, the doctors said. Of the vacant posts, 183 posts were in the militancy affected areas that the doctors have named. Of the remaining, 100 posts were in Dhubri, Karimganj and Hailakandi, while 53 were in the three medical colleges of the state in Dibrugahr, Guwahati and Silchar, the sources said.

State Health Secretary Biren Dutta has meanwhile said the all the empty posts would be filled up by the end of November this year. He also said that the North Eastern Council had released funds worth Rs 20 crore for the Assam Medical College (AMC) in Dibrugarh while Rs 9 crore had been released for use jointly by the Gauhati and Silchar Medical Colleges. Only last month, work at AMC had come to a halt after students launched an agitation demanding better facilities in the college.

By Pradyut Hazarika(