Lauded as COVID Warriors, rewarded with retirement

93 disengaged GMC staffers  demand justice
Lauded as COVID Warriors, rewarded with retirement

Srinagar, June 21: Scores of paramedic and technical staff working on academic arrangement in hospitals across hospitals in Srinagar have been shown the exit door, pushing their careers to the end, and their families through miseries. 

Recently, nursing staff posted at Children Hospital Bemina staged a protest highlighting the alleged blow to patient services as Government Medical College Srinagar disengaged the nurses that had been working on academic arrangement at this hospital. The disengaged nurses are part of the 93 paramedic and technical staff that was working at various GMC Srinagar Associated Hospitals. The Medical College in its order issued on 01 June 2023 cited Honourable Supreme Court order dated 31 January 2023 to maintain status quo for the petitioners. “There shall be status quo as regards the employment status of petitioners till the next date of hearing” reads the judgment by SC. The next date of hearing, as per the staff that has been disengaged is scheduled for July this year.

The staff whose services have been discontinued were employed by the medical college from time to time since 2011. As per the GMC order, “GMC Srinagar has been engaging paramedical staff on academic arrangement basis to overcome the shortage of technical staff required for patient care and smooth conduct of academic activities in the Institution”. As per the J&K Medical and Dental Education (Appointment on Academic Arrangement Basis) Rules 2009 under SRO 384/2009, a person can be engaged on Academic Arrangement basis initially for one year extendable to a period of six years, and/or till selection or promotion is made in accordance with the rules of recruitment governing the respective posts.

When the first batch completed a six years term, they filed a writ petition, which finally landed in the Supreme Court. However, the GMC earlier this month disengaged 93 staffers who were not part of the writ petition. The decision of the Medical College has come as a blow to 93 ex-staffers of the medical college who had rendered more than a decade of service at various tertiary care hospitals. The Medical College had depended on the services of these staffers through the difficult times of floods of 2014 and during the Pandemic. The ousted employees have been crying hoarse about the ‘heartless’ and ‘partisan’ approach towards them.

A nurse who has served at various medical college hospitals told Greater Kashmir she would be ineligible to apply for any post advertised by the Government as she is now ‘overage’ as per the rules. She said her family depended on her income and the move by the Medical College was sure to push her into poverty and make her family suffer. She said that the doctors who had been engaged on Academic Arrangement continue to serve despite having been at the Institution for over a decade. “Why this step motherly treatment?” she asked.

Another employee who was working as a technician said that the GMC had divided the staffers as petitioners and non-petitioners. “Can there be two sets of rules and their implementation for those who approached the Court and those who did not?” he asked. He demanded an empathetic approach towards the plight of qualified, and now unemployed people aggrieved by this order.

Principal GMC Srinagar, Prof Masood Tanvir did not respond to the calls and texts regarding the issue. 

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