'Degrees award dispute to be resolved by Sept 26'
New Delhi, Aug 29: Union Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today appealed to AIIMS doctors to call off their strike and assured to resolve the dispute over awarding of their degrees by the September 26 convocation of the country's premier health institute.
Blaming the AIIMS administration for the delay in awarding of degrees, Dr Ramadoss said the strike by medical students was unfortunate as it was affecting patient care in the institute.
Asserting that patient care would not be allowed to be affected, he warned of strict action against those indulging in such activity.
AIIMS Director P Venugopal also met the minister and both decided to resolve the matter by the September 26 convocation.
Dr Ramadoss said he had received a bunch of certificates for signature which bear the signature of a person whose appointment has not been sanctioned by the AIIMS governing body, which is the highest administrative body. So, he sent a letter to the director saying the certificates were ''illegal'' and should be signed by the ''legally-appointed Registrar'' and the situation should be immediately rectified.
Criticising the AIIMS administration for not holding a convocation during the past two years, the minister said, ''It is very, very unfortunate that each time anything happens in AIIMS, doctors there go on a strike and then patient care service is disrupted.'' ''It is very unfortunate that the premier health institute of the country is functioning like this, and unfortunately the administration has not been taking any step to prevent that and patients are suffering,'' he added.
Appealing to the students to withdraw their agitation, he said, ''I request the students very passionately that definitely their grievances would be taken into account and they will get their certificates very quickly when all the issues are settled.''
Pointing out that the AIIMS administration has sent him certificates to affix his signature so that they could be awarded to the students, he said but they were signed by a certain Dr Sandeep Aggarwal, who is said to be the registrar. Till the issue is resolved about the registrar, the students should not resort to any agitation and disrupt patient care services, the minister appealed.
Dr Ramadoss said, '' As you are aware that the appointing authority for the post of Registrar, which is a Group A post according to AIIMS Regulations, is the governing body and the appointment of Dr Sandeep Aggarwal as Registrar does not have its approval.'' ''Accordingly, the signature on the degrees also renders these documents as illegal and, therefore, it is not possible for me as President of AIIMS to append my signature to an illegal document,'' he said in his letter written yesterday.
He said the AIIMS governing body meet of January 24 had decided that Dr V P Gupta would continue to function as Registrar.
In view of the specific decision of the governing body, the degrees sent for signature would not be legal until they are signed by the Registrar legally appointed by the competent authority, he said.
''Hence, I am returning the degrees to you for rectification.
These may kindly be sent to me at the earliest after rectification so that they can be signed by me,'' he said.
Agreeing that doctors are facing difficulty in the absence of original degrees in applying to foreign universities for higher studies, the minister said he would like to make the degrees available to them at the earliest.
Putting the onus on the director for rectifying the situation, the Minister said the task to get his signature appended on the certificates lies ''squarely'' with the director. He said the director should take ''immediate necessary action for holding a convocation within one month'' so that the degrees can be awarded to the successful candidates immediately. UNI