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Minister at receiving end of BJP vs BJP row

Leader of Opposition Hemant Soren has a word with Jarmundi Congress MLA Badal Patralekh in the 
Assembly on Friday. Picture by Prashant Mitra 

Ranchi, Aug. 11: State health minister Ramchandra Chandravanshi was today cornered in the state Assembly by his party colleagues over the poor functioning of Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences (RIMS), the largest state run hospital in Jharkhand.

While BJP chief whip in the Assembly Radha Krishna Kishore claimed that there were too many issues ailing the medical institute, Chandravanshi shot back saying everything was fine. "He's in a hurry to become a minister," was all Chandravanshi had to say about his party MLA before going for lunch.

The verbal duel began soon after Kishore, through a call attention notice, informed the House that in the last two years, RIMS director B.L. Sherwal had attended office only for 12 months and that doctors of the institute were more busy running their own private clinics.

The BJP chief whip also added that out of 262 medical equipment worth Rs 10.68 crore given by the Centre to RIMS under the Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana during 2009-10 fiscal, 191 were yet to be installed. Kishore also claimed that not a single cardiac surgery was performed in the super-specialty wing of RIMS and that there were no specialist doctors for nephrology, cardiology, cardio-thoracic vascular surgery, paediatric surgery, urology and oncology departments.

The minister countered Kishore, saying only two equipment received from the Centre were yet to be installed. While the rest were functioning properly. He added that steps had been initiated to appoint specialist doctors and 862 posts of technicians would be sanctioned soon to operate all the equipment.

But the minister's answers could not silence his party's chief whip. Kishore referred to the minister's previous public statements where he had expressed strong reservations about the functioning of RIMS. He also asked why the retirement age of specialist doctors was not being raised to 67 years from the existing 65 as in Bihar.

When the minister replied that doctors weren't that good after 65, Kishore took a dig at him, asking how he was able to smoothly handle the health affairs of the state after 70.

Asked if a single doctor who was availing non-practicing allowance had been penalised for indulging in private practice, Chandravanshi said, "Being an MLA, you should shoulder your responsibilities. You (Kishore), too, had recently gone to RIMS for inquiries as part of public accounts committee. You should have caught the erring doctors and brought them to me. I would have taken action against them".

Name game

MCC member Arup Chatterjee has demanded that the name of the local MLA should appear first on foundation stones and inaugural plaques of all state-sponsored schemes instead of MPs. Congress member Irfan Ansari backed Chatterjee and said such a recommendation was recently made by a parliamentary committee.

Namaz

The Speaker wanted to adjourn the House at 12.30 pm for Muslim members to offer Friday prayers. But BJP members insisted that the Assembly should run till 1pm. "Have I ever asked special favours on Tuesdays and Thursdays," BJP member Manish Jaiswal said. However, the Speaker allowed Congress MLA Irfan Ansari to leave for prayers.

Liquor

As the Assembly was in progress, Congress MLA Badal Patralekh came to Hemant and whispered something in his ear. Hemant rose up and said, "It's good that the government is selling liquor now. What else can it do? But my sincere request to teachers and education department officials is that they should not be officially engaged in liquor business."

Other issues

Kanke legislator Jeetu Charan Ram expressed concern at regular accidents and deaths taking place at various tourist and picnic spots, especially waterfalls, and demanded immediate corrective actions to stop such recurrances. Gumla MLA Shiva Shankar Oraon demanded that prompt compensation be given to those whose property had been damaged by marauding wild elephants.


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