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Sit-in by junior doctors, medical students in Kashmir

Written by: Staff
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Srinagar, July 3 (UNI) Several hundred junior doctors and medical students today staged a protest sit-in near the Civil Secretariat, the seat of the Jammu and Kashmir administration, here to highlight the ''sordid state of affairs'' in the Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar which they claimed was on the verge of de-recognition.

The doctors and medical students first took out a protest rally from GMC to the Civil Secretariat and then staged a sit-in there.

''Save our future...Without doctors Kashmir will bleed more...

Save GMC,'' were some of the placards carried by the slogan-shouting doctors and students as they marched towards the Civil Secretariat to hand over a letter to Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad.

In the letter, GMC Students Union highlighted the deteriorating condition of the GMC, Srinagar and said the new type of primary health centre (PHC) allotted to the GMC, Srinagar were upgraded allopathic dispensaries and not at par with PHCs.

''As per the Medical Council of India (MCI) guidelines, the GMC Srinagar doesn't meet the minimum requirements and so stand the risk of de-recognition,'' it added.

Besides, there was long-standing acute shortage of faculty in the GMC, Srinagar due to the cumulative effect of previous migration of the staff to other upcoming institutions such as GMC, Jammu and SKIMS Soura, the Union said.

''In addition to this, the beginning of turmoil in the Valley saw a mass exodus of the Kashmiri Pandit faculty members to Jammu.

In all these instances, the college was left to bleed and no action taken to replenish the progressive depleting staff,'' it added.

The students said another contributory factor was the retirement on superannuation without fresh recruitment at the entry level post and no promotion of the existing faculty. ''Even if it is done sometimes, it is not sufficient to meet the needs of the institution,'' they added.

The Union said the GMC, Srinagar catered to teaching of around 600 undergraduate (yearly intake of 100) and around 100 postgraduate students in various disciplines and specialties. This was in addition to about 10,000 OPD and 2000 indoor patients per month. In view of the problem of depleting staff, the running of the GMC, Srinagar has become impossible, it added.

The letter said it was pertinent to mention that the MCI has already de-recognised some departments such as Anatomy, Pathology and Orthopedics. ''The sword is hanging on many other departments.'' The Union demanded immediate filling up of all vacant posts by skilled faculty on a contractual basis till the Public Service Commission confirmed specialists take over these.

''But, such a step will be effective only if the required expertise is lured by handsome salaries and perks,'' it added.

The Union also demanded immediate recruitment at all entry level posts, which in due course of time should be promoted.

''Create super-specialty posts in various departments (as has already been done in the department of pediatrics) to create a larger number of specialised personnel available for teaching students and catering to patient-care in a better way,'' it added.

The letter said the present sordid state of affairs in the GMC, Srinagar was a result of ''misadventure and negligence'' by the successive government.

The doctors and medical students sought Mr Azad's intervention and urged him to take steps to prevent the college from getting de-recognised and closed.

UNI AG RR RAI1858

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