Health ministers keep mum, GMC principal says ‘Let’s be silent about it’
Srinagar: The appointment of a well-connected, ‘blue-eyed’ doctor as Medical Superintendent (MS), Lal Ded Hospital, has stirred a hornet’s nest as fresh revelations have pointed towards favouritism at the highest levels of the administration.
According to official sources, the Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department, Pawan Kotwal, issued the order without consent from ministers concerned.
“The order to post Dr Shabir Sediqui as Medical Superintendent, LD Hospital, has been issued after recommendations from someone in Chief Minister’s office, and concerned ministers didn’t give any approval before his appointment on the coveted post,” said a senior official in the department.
“Both the ministers, Bali Bhagat and Asiea Naqash, came to know about the development many days after the issuing of the order. Although there was some resentment from the senior minister, the order couldn’t be revoked as of now,” the official privy to the development told Kashmir Reader.
Minister of State for Health and Medical Education Asiea Naqash said she was busy with the assembly session and so could not speak about any issue.
“I am busy with assembly session and I am not in a position to talk about the issue,” she told Kashmir Reader when asked why the health department violated recruitment rules to appoint a favoured doctor as MS.
Sources, however, said the junior minister was silent about the issue following a controversy over the favouritism involved.
“She was asked not to speak to anyone because CM office is involved in the matter,” said a senior doctor who works as an administrator in the department.
Similarly, Bali Bhagat didn’t respond to repeated calls and queries from Kashmir Reader.
He did not respond to texts for the last two days and assitant said the minister is busy.
Principal Government Medical College (GMC), Srinagar, Dr Samia Rashid also kept quiet about the appointment of Dr Sediqui to the MS post.
“Let’s be silent about it,” she replied to a query about whether she was asked by the government about the posting.
Asked why Dr Shabir was favoured over others despite having no administrative experience, she said: “I don’t know anything about that. But I know there are many issues related to appointment of medical superintendents and deputy medical superintendents because there are court cases. Let’s see what will come up there.”
The government had appointed Dr Shabir on the post of MS LD Hospital on January 19, much before the superannuation of the outgoing MS, Dr Nazir Malik. With Dr Shabir’s appointment, the government has violated the J&K Medical Education (Gazetted) Recruitment Rules 1979 (SRO of 2013) because he does not have the administrative experience mandatory for the MS’s post.
The rules say that a doctor should have administrative experience of five years to be eligible for the post of medical superintendent of hospitals associated with any Government Medical College.
Dr Shabir was appointed as B-Grade Specialist (now Consultant), Anaesthesia, in 2008 for the Health and Medical Education Department. Later he served in different hospitals as an anaesthetist without any posting as administrator. But the present government is giving him undue favours because of his relatives in the ruling party.