Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Venugopal sacked, doctors go on strike

Venugopal sacked, doctors go on strike: "AIIMS Director Dr P Venugopal was today sacked on charges of violating the code of conduct. The decision came after a meeting chaired by Union Health Minister A Ramadoss passed the resolution for Venugopal's removal.

The Governing Body has 17 members. Of the 17, only 15 members were present at the meeting. Of the two who didn't turn up, one was Venugopal himself. Of the 15 present, three were against the resolution brought in by the health minister to terminate Dr Venugopal, while 12 backed it.

But this decision is not final. The final sacking will take place only after the appointments committee of the cabinet clears the recommendation. If they think it is reasonable then it will be accepted.

The Health Minister said Venugopal can be given three months' salary and asked to go. The two had a public spat a fortnight ago after Venugopal called for greater autonomy. The Health Minister reacted sharply and accused the Director of misadministration of AIIMS. Doctors supporting Venugopal have gone on a strike to protest his removal from the post.

Meanwhile, the SC has criticised the government on the issue of non-payment of salaries to striking medicos during the reservation protests. The court was hearing the striking doctors' plea for release of salary during the striking period. The case will be taken up on July 17. The Health Minister himself has said they can't be paid wages during the strike period.

In related news, over seven months after the user fee was imposed at AIIMS, the health ministry has put it on hold. A controversial decision that angered several members of the faculty, the user fee was seen to be a way to raise funds for the institution the way institutes like PGI Chandigarh are doing.

However, protests had led the ministry to form a committee to look into the user fee issue. On its recommendations the ministry has confirmed that the status quo has been reinstated. (With PTI inputs)"

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