The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Doctors turn up in droves at job mela

Ranchi/Jamshedpur, Nov. 10: Hundreds of doctors trooped in for walk-in interviews at recruitment camps as the three-day “appointment mela” organised by the health department kicked off in district headquarters this morning.

The response has been overwhelming, said an elated P.P. Sharma, the health secretary.

The exercise, possibly the first such to appoint doctors on a mass scale, is aimed at enabling the Jharkhand government to fulfil its commitment of appointing 30,000 people by November 15, when the newly-carved out state observes its third foundation day. The camps wind up on Wednesday.

If the response from doctors came as a relief to health officials, there was an equally impressive turnout of people wanting to be midwives, nurses, technicians and pharmacists, judging by reports that poured in from districts.

The health department plans to finalise the recruitment “on contract” of 1,234 doctors, 709 auxiliary nursing midwives, 103 nurses, 101 laboratory technicians and 150 pharmacists. The initial contract will be for two years and a doctor is likely to be paid around Rs 15,000 a month besides other benefits. Selected candidates will be required to give in writing that they will accept supervision and control of zilla parishads as and when they are constituted.

Officials said the huge turnout was because of the long gap since the last recruitment to the health service undertaken by the then Bihar government in 1988. Poor payments in private nursing homes was another reason, they added.

In state capital Ranchi, there was a huge rush at the Red Cross Bhavan from the morning. As many as 500 doctors turned up to fill just 128 posts. In Jamshedpur, against the sanctioned vacancy of 82 doctors, 85 women turned up besides their male colleagues. The situation was similar in other districts as well.

Sources, however, warned that the exercise could get bogged down in controversies. On the first day itself, there were murmurs of discontent over the recruitment panels and at the “short and swift” interviews.

In every district, the panels are headed by deputy commissioners and include the civil surgeon, the district welfare officer, a representative of the Indian Medical Association and a few other officials. Most of the interviews lasted barely a couple of minutes.

What also raised eyebrows is the decision to have the same “interview board” screen all categories of people, including doctors, nurses, technicians and lab assistants. At Hazaribagh, several applicants for posts of technicians and lab assistants complained that they were asked to spell English words like “behaviour” or to provide the antonyms of other words.

Some applicants said touts and middlemen who were offering “guaranteed appointment” for a consideration, namely Rs 3 lakh for a doctor’s job and Rs 60,000 for a nurse’s.

The decision to waive the upper age limit provoked comments. Several junior doctors complained that the move might affect their prospects as “retired” doctors could make use of the waiver.

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