Dimapur, June 15: The Naga People’s Front (NPF) has expressed deep concern at the imbroglio in the Department of Health & Family Welfare over the recent decision of the State Cabinet to regularize contractual and contingency medical officers under the Department, and demanded that the Cabinet decision be put on hold.
“The very decision of commissioning public servants without following the laid down procedures is a blatant and atrocious disregard for the law governing the land and can only be termed as an act of nepotism,” it alleged in a press release.
The NPF said another unpleasant fall-out of this arbitrary Cabinet decision would be the burden on the State exchequer. It pointed out that the salary/emoluments of those contractual workers recruited due to the Covid-19 pandemic could have been borne out of the Covid-19 fund, but their regularization will place an additional burden of over a few crores of rupees every year on the State budget, when the Government is struggling even to meet the salaries of the existing State Government employees.
“And moreover, the Chief Minister himself has announced on various occasions that the State Government is struggling to meet up the salaries of the existing employees,” it said.
Demanding that the Cabinet decision be put on hold regarding regularization of the contractual and contingency medical staff, the NPF said the rules of recruitment into the public service as a regular employee cannot be so patently ignored just taking advantage of the existing pandemic.
“This authoritarian attitude of the PDA Government would moreover, set a very dangerous precedent for the post-pandemic governments and the future Naga generations. It would also force the appointed MOs into a very uncomfortable position if a first class gazette post is given them without following proper appointment procedure and if at all their service is indispensable, proper laid down recruitment procedure should be followed to accommodate them.”
Instead the NPF called for recruitment of trained medical personnel as regularized appointees, where necessitated, through Nagaland Public Service Commission (NPSC), and only after undergoing the prescribed probationary period. This, it said, would ensure that all qualified candidates have an equal opportunity for employment under the State Government and no one is discriminated against.
The NPF also urged the PDA Government to expeditiously address the grievances of the NHM employees and break the deadlock so that various health centres across the State start functioning normally again.
“The lives of the people of Nagaland must not be imperiled because of ‘blatant and atrocious nepotism’ of the Government,” it said while asking the Government of the day to immediately end the mess and work out modalities where medical professionals can serve the public in this time of crisis with dedication and commitment.
Settle impasse: NPFLP
The NPF Legislature Party has also called upon the State Government and the National Health Mission Employees Association, Nagaland (NEAN) to hammer out a solution without further delay.
“During this extraordinary time when unprecedented crisis has engulfed the State due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it is of paramount importance that the impasse between the State Government and the National Health Mission Employees Association, Nagaland (NEAN) is amicably settled at the earliest,” said the NPFLP in a release.
The NPF opined that while the grievances of NEAN is genuine and their cause deserves all out support, the ‘cease work’ called by the body and the subsequent absence of medical personnel from duties will have adverse effects on the general public who are already facing untold pain and suffering today.
The COVID-19 pandemic is not going away anytime soon and given the shortage of medical professionals working on the ground, the day-to-day functioning of hospitals and health centers including quarantine centers will be immensely affected, it said.
The NPF maintained that at the end of the day, it is the common men who will suffer the most if the deadlock continues, and urged the NEAN to weigh the pros and cons thoroughly because at any given point of time, the welfare and well being of the mass is most important.
The NPFLP admitted that the State Cabinet decision to regularize the post of 27 GDMOs appointed on contractual basis on May 27, 2020 for a period of 12 months on the excuse that there was shortage of manpower to contain the COVID-19 pandemic was haphazard and unsystematic. “It failed to address the grievances of NEAN while deciding on regularization of contract appointees which has given birth to the present crisis and for which the State Government must own complete responsibility.”
“Amicable settlement to the imbroglio is a prerequisite in tackling COVID-19 in the State during a time when the State is passing through this critical period,” it appealed. (Page News Service)