The Telegraph
Saturday , December 8 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Govt call to privatise labs worries students

Bhubaneswar, Dec. 7: Students pursuing diploma in medical lab technology and those studying for a similar qualification in medical radiology and technology in the three government-run medical colleges are up in arms.

The students are livid and have opposed the government’s decision to privatise pathology labs in various state-run hospitals and medical colleges.

The department of health and family welfare on October 19 had decided to set up Hindlabs, a private enterprise, in 18 selected district headquarters hospitals, Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar, and SCB Medical College and Hospital, Cuttack. It was decided to hand over the existing laboratories of such hospitals and health centres to the private enterprise.

Three hundred and twenty technical students, who graduate every year from these medical colleges, are trained in pathology, X-ray, ultrasound and endoscopy. They get absorbed against about 600 posts in various medical colleges, hospitals, public health centres and community health centres.

“After privatisation of the labs, we will lose our jobs. Most things will be automated. They will require lesser manpower,” said Ganesh Tripathy, a student.

The students have threatened to organise a protest rally here on December 18.

Speaking about the privatisation of the labs, a senior official in the health department said the project would be run in a public-private-partnership mode.

“This will help the labs get high-end equipment,” he said.

According to the agreement, the state government will bear the cost required for civil works in renovating the buildings while Hindlabs will install the required equipment. The latter will also be in charge of appointing manpower for the labs.

“The private company will hire people for very little money. It might not give preference to students graduating from medical colleges, which earlier used to be the case with government-run labs. Many students will be left jobless,” said another student.