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Regular Jobs: Rural Docs Get ‘Bitter’ Pill

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Regular jobs: Rural docs get ‘bitter’ pill

Anshu Seth

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, April 26

Having received monthly remuneration of Rs 27,000 as contractual workers under zila parishads, the 1,186 rural medical officers in Punjab were in for a shock when the Rural Development and Panchayats Department announced regularisation of their services fixing their salary at Rs 15,600 per month.

As perceived, the offer was rejected by the doctors. They termed it as a “raw” deal saying they may now go in for jobs in private hospitals. The rural medical officers (RMOs) had been told to join village dispensaries as permanent recruits on May 1, 2011.

Notably, the RMOs were elemental in implementing among others the Revised National Tuberculosis Control Program and immunization, malaria control, family planning and school programs in villages. They had been working in dispensaries since 2006.

Regularising their jobs was a pre-poll promise made by the Shiromani Akali Dal to the RMOs. However, a notification was only issued by the state government on April 25. But, their joy was soured when they got to know that their salary would be Rs 15,600 a month, about Rs 11,400 less than what they used to get earlier.

Terming the move as a “disheartening” one, Dr Deepika, RMO working in Ludhiana district, alleged that the government had turned a blind eye towards their demand. "The rural populace will be at the receiving end as the government decision will once again leave them at the mercy of quacks."

Dr Parwinder Kaur and Dr Shivdeep, RMOs serving in Jalandhar and Sangrur villages, said they would instead take up jobs with private hospitals, which were offering about Rs 40,000 a month.

Rural Medical Officers Association state president Dr Aslam Parvez termed the notification as a "clinical and clerical" mistake. "We will bring it to the notice of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal who had promised to acknowledge the good work done by the RMOs in elevating the standards of rural healthcare."

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