Srinagar: No respite is in sight for soaring number of jobless dental surgeons in J&K with the government stating that all posts had been filled and 280 posts referred for the Finance department's approval.
A number of protests have been registered by the dental surgeons in J&K in the past few weeks over the government's failure to create jobs for them.
As per the protestors, despite assurances, no new posts have been created in the government sector in the past 12 years.
The protestors have also expressed anguish over them being left out of the temporary hiring for various positions for management of Covid-19 and health schemes.
Additional Chief Secretary to J&K Government (Health and Medical Education, H&ME) Atal Dulloo said that there was no possibility of advertising any posts of dental surgeons as no post was vacant currently.
He said the jobs would be available if new posts are created for which the department had written to the J&K Finance Department.
“We have referred 280 posts for financial concurrence and once we get that, we will be in a position to refer these to the recruiting body,” he said.
The posts of dental surgeons, as per a protestor who identified himself as Dr Muttahir Hafiz, were last filled by J&K Public Service Commission in 2008.
“It has been over 12 years and the number of unemployed dental surgeons has piled up to more than 8000,” he said.
He said that the H&ME department in May published a notification under Order No 398/JK/HME 2021 for the 500-bedded Covid-19 hospitals with 35 posts for doctors with MBBS, BDS or ISM as qualification.
However, dental surgeons were omitted from the subsequent notification by GMC Jammu and GMC Srinagar, the two medical colleges under which the Covid-19 hospitals function.
In a letter to Lieutenant Governor written by these protesting unemployed surgeons, they have highlighted various “discriminations” and “apathy” they have faced over the years.
“Dental professionals have not been part of National Health Mission schemes, or other centrally-sponsored health schemes. There seems to have been a complete moratorium when it comes to job creation in dentistry since 2008. In fact no profession has seen such dereliction in jobs as dentistry,” the letter mentions.
The letter also makes mention of the file HD/PLAN/68/204 being put to cold storage.
This file “had suggested the creation of 550 posts for dental graduates and post graduates as against the shortage and absence of posts received from the health department”.
A senior dental surgeon working in the Government Dental College Srinagar said that creating more posts for dentists was the “need of the hour”.
“We have dental chairs procured with huge funds in every SDH and district hospital but we have no dental surgeons for making these chairs of any use,” he said.
He said the J&K Government should ensure that the National Oral Health Policy was implemented in letter and spirit.