Angry appointees shut down Anantnag CMO office

ANANTNAG: The office of the chief medical officer (CMO) Anantnag, has been shut for the past five days after it was closed by hundreds of appointees alleged to be recruited in the department without any proper recruitment process.
The appointees were protesting against what they said was ‘pick and chose’ policy of the authorities in clearing their cases. They were also demanding release of their wages pending for two years.
The fake recruitment scam involving some top officials and clerks of the health department surfaced in 2012 following which the government had constituted a committee headed by the then director health services Kashmir, Dr Saleem-ul-Rehman.
The committee had identified at least 2200 fake appointees in various medical blocks of the valley many of them from district Anantnag.
On the basis of the recommendations of the committee, the officials first withheld the salary of all the alleged fake appointees but later cleared the cases of almost all of them from time to time leaving out only 133 such appointees.
Unpaid for last over two and half years, the left out appointees on Wednesday last locked down the office of the chief medical officer, Anantnag to press the authorities to clear their cases as well.
The appointees are on a sit-in protest in the premises of CMO office for last five days.
“The department had identified around 2200 employees but only we are being punished,” the protesting employees said.
They said that the authorities should apply the same yardstick on every one. “How can they show us door after serving the department for more than a decade. Our families are starving from last two and half years due to the nonpayment of our wages,” said an appointee, Javed Ahmad.
He said that injustice being meted out to them forced them to lock down the CMO office. “We cannot afford to see our children die of starvation. If the authorities don’t clear our cases and release our salary we will also bring our children to join the protest,” Ahmad said.
Another protesting employee alleged that the cases of only those appointees were not cleared who have no access to the political or bureaucratic corridors and failed to grease the palms of the officers and clerks.
President Health Employees Association, Anantnag, Malik Farooq said it was injustice to clear 2000 employees and single out just a few hundred.
Chief medical officer, Anantnag, Dr Fazil Ali Kochak acknowledged that his office was locked for the past five days.
“I have not entered the office since it was locked down by these appointees five days ago. But I am not authorized to clear their cases. The decision in this regard needs to be taken at a very top level,” he said.