The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Rims musical chairs greet team

Ranchi, Nov. 26: A tug-of-war between the state’s two top bureaucrats on the eve of the arrival of a Medical Council of India team has cast a shadow on the future of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (Rims), which is facing a derecognition threat.

Sources said the council team of M.C. Vyas, Virendra Mohan and P.. Agarwal would reach the capital tomorrow to inspect the institute.

The delegation will submit a report by January 9 to Jharkhand High Court, which is hearing a public interest litigation alleging poor facilities and faculty in the premier medical college and hospital.

Amid hectic preparations by the government to receive the team, the post of the institute’s director became a bone of contention between chief secretary Laxmi Singh and health secretary P.P. Sharma.

In the drama which unfolded on Tuesday, the health secretary appointed J. Prasad as director in the afternoon. In the evening, the chief secretary quashed Prasad’s appointment and named S.. Chaudhary in his place.

Sources said that during a visit to Rims on Tuesday, the health secretary came across a section of employees who had turned restive over not getting an advance before Id.

“Acting director Prasad till then had only executive powers and did not have financial powers. This prompted the health secretary to appoint Prasad as director so that he could have financial powers as well,” a source said.

“Sharma immediately gave him the financial powers after making him the director. A notification to this effect was issued around 2 pm. Copies of the notification were sent to all the departments within no time,” the source added.

Following this, Rs 56,000 was withdrawn from the bank to be distributed among employees from the minority community, another source said.

“In the evening, the chief secretary came to know about the developments and wondered how the health secretary could appoint the director without taking her approval as she is also the ex-officio chairperson of the Rims Autonomous Council (RAC),” he added.

The sources said that later in the night, the chief secretary quashed Prasad’s appointment and chose S.. Chaudhary, a former Rims medical superintendent. Being a holiday on account of Id today, Chaudhary could not take charge and is expected to do so tomorrow.

Prasad told The Telegraph that he had nothing to say on the matter. “As a government employee, I am bound to obey the orders of my officers. I will extend my fullest cooperation to the new director. Together, we have to face the challenges Rims is facing,” he said.

Sources said that according to rules of Rims, approval of the RAC chairperson is required for appointment of director. This is where the health secretary erred as he did not take the approval of the chief secretary in the matter, the sources added.

The health secretary refused to comment on the controversy, saying: “You know the rules well.” The chief secretary could not be contacted.

The controversy has spread concern among students. The 1998 batch of MBBS students are scheduled to appear for viva voce on Friday. “All those who have not finished their MBBS are going through a tough time. We cannot concentrate on our studies,” said a final-year student.

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