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Punjab Rural Medical Officers Association divides over clash of merger interest in Health Department
HARISH DIDO | 15 Sep 2014

The Rural Medical Officers Association fighting for the merger of doctors, presently under the administrative control of Zila Parishad, in the Health Department, instead of two parallel health systems in Punjab has split over a clash of interest.

A conflict of interest is a situation occurring when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possible corrupts the motivation.

The point of conflict is losing of seniority of service in Zila Parishad on merger with the health department.  The majority of the doctors working in Subsidiary Health Centres (SHCs) are in the age of 30s and would hardly be affected with the clubbed seniority in view of available opportunities for promotion, PG quota besides updating by attending various seminars and conference, which facility is not available while working under Zila Parishads.

During the meeting in which more than 300 delegates from across the state participated, the major agenda was merger of rural medical officers into the health department. To accomplish this long pending demand of all the rural medical officers, all the delegates decided to make a new Punjab level association which can rise above their vested interests and can make the voice of majority of the rural medical officers to reach the ears of Punjab govt.

Unanimously, Pro-merger Rural Medical Offices Association (PRMOA) was formed and Dr. Arshdeep Brar, RMO, Distt Faridkot was unanimously elected Punjab President, PRMOA, Dr. Nikhil Gupta , RMO, Distt Firozpur  as Punjab Vice President, Dr. Deepak Maddar , RMO, Distt Tarntaran and Dr. Seema Bhardwaj, RMO, Distt Mansa, were unanimously elected Punjab Gen Secretary and President ( Ladies Wing).

Amongs others opted were, Dr. Jaswinder Kaur, Tarntaran Vice President ( Ladies Wing ), Dr. Ram Lal , Amritsar as State Joint Secretary, Dr. Pushpinder Kaur and Dr. Ripple Anand State Finance Secretary, Dr. Pavail as Online Secretary, Dr. Rakesh and Dr. Akashdeep as State Press Secretary and Dr. Gautam Rekhi Fazilka, Dr. Amit Jasuja Fazilka, Dr. Vikram Mann Gurdaspur, Dr. Raminderpal Singh Sandhu Frozpur, and Dr. Harinder singh Tarntaran  as member of the Executive Committee.

In fact, there is a difference of opinion over move to shift the RMOs to Health Department.  One of the main objection of RMOs is that if shifted to the Health Department, their day of appointment would be date on which the notification would be issued and not from the year 2006 when they joined the service. They are of the view that since the RMOs are serving the rural masses for the last eight years and there is no in sacrificing our seniority.

The other group is of the view that they are not against the move of shifting them to the Health Department but the government must ensure that their seniority would be counted from 2006.  The other demands include fixation of the PG quota for RMOs and keeping the post of RMO non-transferable.

Speaking to this correspondent, Dr.Nikhil Gupta newly elected Vice President said, the merger is being asked as ordered by the High Court for giving benefit of rural area service in the department of Rural and Panchayat in PG quota as is mentioned in the PG Prospectus of Baba Farid University of Healthy Services and pay protection as given to Rural Veterinary Officers and ETT teachers.

It may be mentioned that at present, 1186 Subsidiary Health Centres (Rural Dispensaries) are functioning tin the State.  These dispensaries were under the jurisdiction of the Department of Health and Family Welfare.  In 2006, these were brought under the Development of Rural Development and Panchayats (DRDP) and are being run by the Zila Parishad.