SKIMS sexual harassment case: Complainant transferred to non-existent ‘Quality Control Lab’

SKIMS sexual harassment case: Complainant transferred to non-existent ‘Quality Control Lab’
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SRINAGAR: Sher-i-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS), Soura transferred a complainant of sexual harassment to ‘Quality Control Lab’ which exists only on papers.
Official sources told Kashmir Reader that the prestigious project of ‘Quality Control Lab’ under the Drug and Pharmacy Department has been grounded by the SKIMS administration by diverting the funds allocated for it.
“Government has released huge funds for the lab in 2016 and purchase orders were also issued for the equipment. But, the officials failed to start it and the equipment purchased for the lab disappeared as there is no physical presence of any such service in SKIMS,” a senior doctor said wishing anonymity.
He said that lab was supposed to be established in the Genetic Center of SKIMS near Molecular Biology Lab. But, according to him, no quality control lab ever existed in the center. Now, the female employee has been transferred there “to punish her” for lodging a complaint against her colleague for alleged sexual misconduct and bullying. Recently, the sexual harassment complainant and accused in the case were transferred from the Pharmacy department through the same transfer order, which suggested that the victim has been actually punished.
In 2016, the charge of ‘Quality Control Lab’ was given to the former Chief Pharmacist who was indicted in the drug expiry scam. She was sent there as a part of punishment after she was indicted by an inquiry committee.
“The Pharmacy department already faced a series of controversies including the purchase scam and expiry of drugs. And under the garb of these scams administration delayed the establishment of Quality Control Lab,” said a senior pharmacist.
He said that the Lab is part of a prestigious infrastructural project worth Rs 11 crore which was sanctioned for advanced equipment and machinery for oxygen concentrator, plasma sterilizer, incinerator, hi-tech ambulances, face lift to ward block, security surveillance, electronic digital display system. “It would have solved many issues in the SKIMS Drug and Pharmacy department including the presence of low-quality drugs and expiries which became center of many controversies,” the Pharmacist said.
Medical Superintendent, Dr Farooq A Jan admitted that the Quality Control Lab had not been started as yet because of lack of supervision by the Drug and Pharmacy department. However, he justified the transfer of the complainant.
“Inquiry committee didn’t establish anything against the accused so it recommended transfer of both,” he said adding that the lab was yet to be established which is why the administration had appointed the new in charge.
“She is qualified to start and run that lab so that issues related to drug quality gets solved,” the MS said.
According to him, the space allotted for the lab had been occupied by another department because the former in charge didn’t take its responsibilities.
“No one from the pharmacy department overlooked it. But, we will look into it and facilitate the Pharmacy department to take it over.”