Tribune News Service
Amritsar, November 28
To protest against the state government move to give autonomy to two government medical colleges in the state and upgrade these to deemed universities, faculty members, paramedical staff, ministerial staff and supporting staff on Thursday boycotted medical services for two hours at Government Medical College(GMC) and Guru Nanak Dev Hospital here. The protest affected medical services from 8am to 10am.
The protesting employees alleged that the government was setting stage for privatisation of the two government-run colleges and their associated hospitals in the long run.
“All the employees are apprehensive that government is trying to pull itself back. If the government is really serious to improve medical education and services,” said Dr Mridu Gupta, president, Medical and Dental Teachers Association, who led the protest, joined up at least a dozen more employee unions.
The employees feared that after making funds available to the proposed autonomous institutions, the government might ask them to attain self-sustainability. “The institute can either generate money by increasing fee of medical students or by increasing user charges levied on patients for services. Both the scenarios are detrimental for public health,” said Dr Gupta adding that they stand with the institution and government but anything should be done after taking all stake holders into confidence.
The protestors also demanded that to improve medical services, the government should start fresh recruitment drive to fill vacant posts in different departments, decentralisation of administrative powers and making allocations of funds in the budget as is being done for the PGI.
Meanwhile, the college principal and hospital’s medical superintendent are attending a meeting with higher-ups in Chandigarh. The agitating employees stated that they would not sit back and let government ruin the two institutions.
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