KOHIMA, NOVEMBER 9: One hundred twenty-five Nurses, recruited by Nagaland Government during COVID pandemic, started an indefinite agitation on Wednesday at Secretariat Junction, Kohim,a demanding regularisation of their service and release of 4 months’ pending salary.
The agitating Nurses have formed a group called ‘Department Recruited Aggrieved Nurses (DRAN) 2021′.
The DRAN members are demanding that the Department of Health and Family Welfare (HFW) authority should honour the Cabinet memorandum dated July 5, 2020 and the Advertisement published on July 16, 2020 and regularise their services.
The Government Notification vide HFW(A) COVID-19/Appt-13/17/2020 dated Kohima 5th July 2020 states “as per the recommendation of the manpower rationalisation committee the Department is to fill up 50% of the post of a Staff Nurse from the queue of former nursing diploma/graduates and remaining 50% to be filled up through direct recruitment and open competition”.
DRAN said that the Department “in continuation to the Advertisement No. DHFW-1-534/COVID-19/SN/2019-20/5023-26, dated 16.7.2020 with regard to the recruitment against the newly-created post of Staff Nurse 110 posts, under the Department of HFW through the Department Recruitment Board it is hereby notified that an additional post of 19 shall be added to the existing 110 i.e. the total number of posts for the staff nurse should be read as 129”.
Nonetheless, DRAN lamented that on receiving their appointment letter on April 15, 2021 the word “temporarily engaged” was inserted which is in stark contrast to advertisement no. DHFW-1-534/COVID-19/2019-2020/dated 16-7-2020 which states “applications are invited for recruitment against newly created posts on a Regular Basis under the Department of HFW through the recruitment board”.
Accordingly, the Nurses who were serving under the National Health Mission also appeared in the interviews conducted through zoom meetings during the pandemic period and were given the appointment with the insertion of the word “temporarily engaged”, DRAN 2021 president Lijamo Odyuo said while interacting with media persons.
He said that the aggrieved Nurses (125 as 4 of them have joined other services) have submitted several representations to the Department officials which went unheard while DRAN submitted an ultimatum on October 20 last with seven days’ deadline, excluding general holidays, which also expired on October 31.
He lamented that expecting that the Government would come forward to discuss and resolve the issue during the grace period but the Department of HFW came out with an advertisement on November 2 for the recruitment of 129 Staff Nurses through NPSC.
Therefore, DRAN 2021 had submitted a reminder to the Government on November 5 and subsequently staged the peaceful sit-in protest to demand their legitimate rights, he said.
When COVID-19 was at its peak and Nagaland faced a dire shortage of health workers while the 2nd wave was unrelenting and unforgiving in terms of death and illness, the services of DRAN 2021 members were utilised to cope and tackle one of the worst tragedies in human history, he said.
Since there has been no further response from the Department and Government, the 125 aggrieved nurses, recruited by the HFW Department during the COVID-19 pandemic, decided to launch the indefinite agitation from today, he said.
Staging the peaceful demonstration at the State Civil Secretariat Junction, DRAN 2021 members held placards some of which read, “COVID-appointed nurses cry for their rights”, “This is how you thank the COVID warriors”, “Nurses are the heart of health care”, “Injustice towards DRAN 2021”, “Don’t use and throw us”, “If the Nurses are outside something is wrong inside”.
Meanwhile, Odyuo informed that while the agitation went off peacefully, the Joint Secretary of the Department along with other officials called the DRAN leaders to discuss the matter.
However, with both sides remaining adamant about their demand, the meeting was inconclusive.
Odyuo asserted that DRAN members would continue their protest and even intensify it in the days to come until their demand is fulfilled.
(Page News Service)