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Nurses’ association suspends agitation

Shillong, Aug. 22: The Meghalaya Government Nursing Service Association today suspended its agitation after the state government assured it of looking into its various demands within two weeks.

This includes the need to revive a selection committee constituted in August last year for the appointment of bonded auxiliary nurse midwives (ANM) and staff nurses.

“The government has assured that the selection committee should be made valid for the appointment of auxiliary nursing midwives and staff nurses till the Meghalaya Nurses Service Rules is amended,” the association’s president, T. Shabong, told reporters.

Members of the association met principal secretary (health), Y. Tsering at the secretariat here.

“We have suspended our agitation in view of the assurance of the government to fulfil our demands within two weeks’ time from today. But if the government fails, we will resort to agitation,” the president warned.

Thousands of nurses serving in various government-run hospitals and health centres in urban and rural areas had decided to go for an indefinite strike from tomorrow.

The association had also opposed the move of the state government to conduct direct recruitment for both bonded and non-bonded candidates.

“Bonded candidates had already passed a selection process before they got into the nursing courses sponsored by the government. For the past several years, bonded nurses did not have to appear for any interview and they were appointed on a merit and batch-wise basis.

“However, the non-bonded candidates have not gone through a similar process like bonded auxiliary nurse midwives. Therefore, the recruitment for non-bonded candidates should include practical examination and personal interview,” a member of the association said.

They termed the recruitment policy of the government unjustified by putting bonded and non-bonded nurses on the same board.

Earlier, health minister A.L. Hek had claimed that the need for bonded auxiliary nurse midwives to appear for written test and personal interview was being done as per rule 7 of the Meghalaya Nurses Service Rules, 2008.

However, the association rebuffed the claim of the health minister, saying that service rules have not been approved either by the cabinet or the state Assembly.

In a letter communicated by secretary (health), M.R. Synrem to the association, the government appealed to the nurses not to resort to any agitation for the interest of the patients and the public.

It also said the process of filling 17 posts in the higher grade would be done after obtaining the date and time from the department promotion committee headed by the chief secretary.

“For filling up of 80 numbers of middle-level posts, the department promotion committee will be convened within two weeks. Regarding the recruitment of 342 posts of general nurses and midwives and auxiliary nurse midwives, the decision will be taken within a week,” the letter said.

Assuring that the suggestions to strengthen the nursing cell would be examined in the light of the Indian Nursing Council norms in consonance with existing approved norms of the state government.

“The filling up of the posts is under process and action will be taken by the departmental committee soon,” the letter assured.

The letter also said any direct recruitment has to be made according to the service rules as the health department is having its own service rules to regulate such appointment.

The letter said the government has constituted a committee to go into the seniority list of nurses and the committee would also look into the amendment of the services rules, which would also invite suggestions from all concerned.

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