Hectic lobbying begins for post of Principal, GMC Srinagar

Srinagar: As the term of the incumbent principal of Government Medical College (GMC) Srinagar, Dr Parvaiz Shah, is due to expire this month-end, hectic lobbying by senior doctors is underway to bag the coveted post.
Although the final decision would be taken by Lieutenant Governor GC Murmu, advisors to him and higher officials in the Health and Medical Education department will be influential in the selection of the candidate.
Sources told Kashmir Reader that doctors are leaving no opportunity to impress senior officials and advisors to the Lt Governor (LG).
Speculations are also rife that Dr Shah could be given an extension to serve a second term. Last year, the government assigned the charge of GMC Srinagar to Dr Shah after the High Court quashed the appointment of Dr Samia Rashid as principal of the college.
The Health and Medical Education department is already facing criticism for indulging in a ‘pick and choose’ policy for appointing administrators in new medical colleges of J&K.
As the race has begun for the post of Principal GMC Srinagar, some “tainted doctors” are also trying their luck, sources said.
“The government should consider merit and past performance while considering candidates, rather than making the selections on basis of nepotism,” said a member of the Medical Faculty Association (MFA) of GMC Srinagar.
“Doctors who enjoy patronage of politicians and bureaucrats were cleared for the top post many times in the past, despite having serious charges, including of financial irregularities, against them,” he said.
According to him, an alleged beneficiary of “political and bureaucratic benevolence” is the former medical superintendent of GB Pant Hospital. The said official was indicted for maladministration in the children’s hospital where several infant deaths took place. However, he has figured in the list of aspirants for the principal’s post of GMC Srinagar three times—something that has surprised many.
“Ironically, he was posted as the principal of a newly established medical college in Baramulla, despite opposition from doctors’ groups and civil society members,” the MFA member said.
Spokesperson of Health and Medical Education department, Dr Shafqat Khan, told Kashmir Reader that the selection will be made by the “existing selection committee” headed by Chief Secretary BVR Subrahmanyam.
“They have already met to start the process. The appointment will be made soon,” he said.
Dr Khan said that the selection would be made on the basis of merit-cum-seniority. “Both merit and seniority will be taken into consideration,” he said.
The current GMC principal is retiring on February 29. The final selection list would contain three names to be considered by the Lieutenant Governor.
A senior official said that the norm was to give charge to the senior-most faculty member in the college. “He is named as principal in-charge and, soon after, the actual lobbying starts for the post,” he said.
The senior official said that seven candidates are being considered this time. They include HoD Medicine Dr Samia Rashid, HoD ENT Dr Rouf Ahmad, HoD Pathology Dr Ruby Reshi, HoD Microbiology Anjum Farhana, and HoD Ophthalmology Dr Tariq Qureshi. Dr Showkat Jeelani, who is professor and head of department, surgery, at GMC Srinagar and currently in charge of Government Medical College Anantnag, is also in the fray.
The Annual Performance Reports (APR) of the candidates will be submitted to the government after the superannuation of the current administrator.

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