Director Health, other significant posts continue to remain vacant for no reasons

No decisions despite Governor’s rule

Nishikant Khajuria

JAMMU, Sept 6: Contrary to the general impression that speedy decisions are taken during the Governor’s rule, several top and significant positions in the crucial Department of Health continue to remain vacant thus severely affecting functioning of different sections of Health in the State, particularly in Jammu.
Besides the headless Directorate of Health Jammu, five significant positions in the department are lying vacant, some of them for months together and even more than a year, notwithstanding the availability of eligible officers to take over these positions and effectively handle the affairs.
As the post of Director Health Jammu is lying vacant since the retirement of then Director, Dr Gurjeet Singh on attaining age of superannuation on August 31, the functioning of entire Directorate has virtually come to a standstill for the last one week.
This is apparently for the first time in the history of the Directorate of Health, Jammu, that no new Director was appointed by the Government even after the retirement of the incumbent.
More ironic is the fact that the two senior most officers in the Health Department, who are eligible for the top position, continue to remain without post in the Directorate since long for their no fault. Senior most Dr Ravinder Khajuria, has been attached in the Directorate without any pending enquiry since September 2017 while Dr Arun Sharma, who is at number two in the seniority list, has been awaiting order of his adjustment since 2016.
Besides the post of Director Health Jammu, the significant posts of State Tuberculosis Officer, State Malarialogist, Divisional Nutrition Officer, Deputy Director Headquarters and Deputy Director Schemes are also lying vacant for the reasons best known to the concerned authorities.
The post of State Malarialogist (SM) is lying vacant since the retirement of then SM, Dr Madhuri Slathia, who attained age of superannuation in May 2018 while the post of State Tuberculosis Officer is not filled since July 2018 after the retirement of then STO Dr Sujata Sharma.
Similarly the posts of Deputy Director Schemes and Deputy Director Headquarter have also not been filled since the retirement of Dr Dimple Singh in July 2018 and Dr Ajay Gupta in October 2017, respectively.
Even as Dr Chander Parkash, Assistant Director Health Education Bureau was assigned the additional charge of Deputy Director Headquarters despite his being junior to others in service and the incumbent Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Jammu has been given the charge of State Malarialogist in addition to his own responsibilities, both the significant positions are awaiting regular officers for smooth conduct of the operations.
Pertinent to mention that State Malarialogist heads the crucial Malaria section of the Health Department, which organizes and monitors Malaria control programmes in the State, including Urban Malaria Control Programmes, such as fogging etc. Deputy Director Headquarters is another crucial position as all official files of the Directorate are routed through him.
Similarly, the post of Deputy Director Schemes, which is lying vacant, is assigned with the responsibility of keeping a check on all the private clinics and Path labs in the Jammu division.
Another position lying vacant in the Department, is the post of Divisional Nutrition Officer, Jammu, for which no appointment was made since the retirement of Dr Saroj Kotwal in September 2017.
Continuously keeping the significant positions in the Health Department vacant for no apparent reasons has also raised many eyebrows amidst allegations of possible looking for notes (money) against posts.