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Doctor job mela lands in court

Ranchi, Nov. 11: The Jharkhand government’s plan to recruit medical and paramedical staff on contract through walk-in interviews hit a roadblock today when the Junior Doctors’ Association moved the high court to stop the exercise.

After hearing arguments of both the petitioner and the state government’s counsel, Justice R.K. Merathia directed the petition to be placed before the court again on Wednesday.

The association claimed that the employment advertisement issued by the government was irregular, full of anomalies and had ample room for corruption. Advocate Rajesh Shankar, who moved the petition on behalf of the doctors’ body, said the period of 10 days allowed to fill up the forms was inadequate in view of the health department’s target of 2,200-odd appointments.

As the posts of medical officer and Grade A nurses are state-cadre posts, the lawyer said the government has erred in empowering district-level committees to recruit persons in these categories. The counsel also pointed out that the advertisement had no mention of the upper-age limit, which meant that even 60-year-old doctors could be selected, affecting the chances of relatively junior doctors.

The high court’s attention was drawn to the Jharkhand Public Service Commission successfully conducting written tests for filling up as many as 10,000 posts of primary-school teachers. Shankar said it was strange that while appointing doctors and paramedical staff, the state government has chosen to depend on hastily constituted district-level committees headed by deputy commissioners.

If the state government could run its hospitals without regular medical officers for the last 15 years, he wondered why it was in such a hurry to fill up all the vacancies in just 10 days.

Advocate R.. Sahay, who appeared for the health and family welfare department, said: “The government has every right to select doctors on contract basis for smooth functioning of its hospitals. There is nothing wrong in the advertisement.”

The government plans to recruit 1,234 medical officers, 709 auxiliary nursing midwives, 103 Grade A nurses, 101 laboratory technicians and 150 pharmacists in 22 districts during the three-day exercise ending tomorrow.

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