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Marandi taps army for Rims
- Applicants from state disgruntled

Ranchi, Oct. 6: Chief minister Babulal Marandi has asked the Centre to depute an army officer to head the high-profile Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (Rims), sparking resentment among applicants from the state.

Chief minister Babulal Marandi has sought defence minister George Fernandes’ help in getting the “right person” from the army as the director of Rims, which became autonomous on August 15.

This follows extension of the last date for submitting applications for the post to October 20 from September 30 after a government advertisement evoked “poor response”. There were only seven applicants — six from Jharkhand and one from Bihar.

Speculation was rife over the choice for director after the government decided to extend the date. This was an indication of the state government’s intention of looking at somebody other than the applicants.

“The chief minister has urged Fernandes to identify a suitable man from the army, not below the rank of a colonel, a source said. The reaction of the defence minister could not be known as he was abroad on official tour.

The government’s move has left the seven applicants, all senior doctors, disgruntled.

“The government’s decision to hire army personnel for the hot seat may have come with good intentions but the chief minister should have made his intentions clear well before fixing the eligibility criteria for the post. Those who have applied would not have done so had they known they would not be considered for the post,” said a doctor.

According to another doctor, the chief minister had every right to bring in his choice as the director, but the way the date was extended was not in good taste.

“First, they (the government) fixed the last date for September 30. Seven applications came and then the date was extended. That sent the message that the government feels they are not competent enough to handle the affairs of Rims. This is quite humiliating for all the applicants. The government should have thought about it before calling for the applications,” he said.

Sources in the medical fraternity were of the opinion that the government may not get the best candidate, given the current developments.

“No candidate from outside Bihar and Jharkhand applied for the post despite the fact that the advertisement was placed in both local and national dailies. This shows that no outsider is interested in taking the mantle of the health institute, which has a legacy of problems. Thus, whoever is sent by the army, will not be interested in the job. This will be a kind of forced appointment,” a source said.

However, the sources said the state government might have to settle for an ex-armyman since those in service are already preoccupied. “If they wanted to induct an armyman, why insult such senior doctors'” said another doctor.

The six applications received from Jharkhand included those of K.P. Srivastava (officiating director, Rims), S.N. Choudhary (superintendent, Rims), the principal of PMCH (Dhanbad), Manoranjan Sahay (HoD, paediatrics, Rims), A.K. Mahato (HoD medicine, Rims) and J. Prasad. The sole applicant from outside Jharkhand is a former director of Patna’s Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences.

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