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Transfer protest at NBMCH

Siliguri, Aug. 11: Students and junior doctors of North Bengal Medical College and Hospital demonstrated in front of the administrative building of the institution today to protest the transfer of 19 teachers in the middle of the academic session.

The agitators under the banner of Students and Junior Doctors of NBMCH also protested principal Samir Ghosh Roy’s order barring anyone related to NBMCH from holding demonstrations and plastering posters on the campus.

“The state health department issued an order on Saturday to transfer 19 medical teachers from NBMCH. The transfer is in the middle of an academic session and if the teachers leave, our studies would get affected. Our final exams are scheduled for December and the syllabus should be completed before the Puja break,” said a fourth-year student. “We have asked the principal not to release the teachers till the tests are over.”

Those transferred are assistant professors, associate professors and professors from ENT, surgery, gynaecology, anaesthesiology, bio-chemistry, pathology, radiology, paediatric, paediatric surgery, cardiology, neuromedicine, ophthalmology, microbiology, general medicine, pharmacology and physiology departments.

Although officials termed the transfers routine, NBMCH sources said they had been shifted after protests by the Association of Health Service Doctors — a Left Front-backed organisation of doctors — at NBMCH following the suspension of former principal Anup Kumar Roy on August 4.

Sources said Roy had been suspended for questioning government’s preparedness to fight the outbreak of Japanese Encephalitis at a meeting attended by junior health minister Chandrima Bhattacharya.

NBMCH officials said three of the 19 teachers had been released. “We have sent the transfer orders to the respective department heads and we will release teachers only after their consent,” an official said.

In the past 24 hours, three more patients died, one from JE and the other from Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, at NBMCH, taking the toll to 146 in north Bengal this year.

PIL move

The Darjeeling district Left Front convenor, Asok Bhattacharya, said on Monday that a PIL would be filed in the high court seeking action against the government for its alleged failure to prevent the encephalitis outbreak.

Bhattacharya also said chief minister Mamata Banerjee should step down as the health minister and sought the resignation of north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb. The CPM leader alleged that as the chairman of the patient welfare committee of NBMCH, Deb had suppressed facts about the outbreak.

Deb said the allegations by Bhattacharya were politically motivated. “The government is putting in its best efforts to contain the disease and provide relief to patients. There is no question of anyone suppressing any fact,” said Deb.