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Doctors face bond threat

Guwahati, Sept. 30: Dispur has constituted a seven-member legal team to crack down on doctors who have not served the government for stipulated periods of time despite having pledged to do so.

Doctors who have failed to honour the legal bonds they signed, vowing to serve the government for the mandatory timeframe, would have to return the money that the state estimates it has spent on them.

Health and family welfare minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said every student who avails the state quota to study medical science has to sign the bond.

According to the bond, an MBBS graduate needs to serve the government for at least five years. Otherwise, he or she has to pay the government a compensation of Rs 7 lakh.

For postgraduates, the duration of compulsory government service is 10 years or a compensation of Rs 10 lakh.

Sarma added that the state government has created 300 new posts of doctors while there are 69 vacant posts. He said the state government has approached the Assam Public Service Commission (APSC) to carry out recruitment for the vacant posts.

“Our ultimate target is to ensure that there is at least one doctor in every panchayat. To achieve this, we will go on creating new posts every year,” the health minister said, explaining the reason why Dispur was becoming proactive in implementing the bond that doctors sign.

He explained that earlier, the government did not try to enforce this legal commitment as there were not enough posts to absorb the army of doctors produced by the state every year.

Assam has produced 391 MBBS doctors and 150 postgraduate physicians in the last session.

The health department will send the list of doctors who have passed out since last year to APSC for recruitment, Sarma said. If the selected doctors refused to serve the government, legal action would be taken to make sure they pay up.

He said the new posts have been created to augment healthcare facilities in rural areas of the state. The stringent measure would ensure that enough doctors are available in remote rural areas.

“They have to serve the government or return the money it has spent on them. They will have to go wherever they are posted: whether it is Halflong in North Cachar Hills or Diphu in Karbi Anglong, they have to serve the state,” he said.

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