Put ISM Deptt back on rails: SAC

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Apr 19: Taking serious note of the reports/complaints regarding alleged malfunctioning and administrative break down in the Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM) Department, the State Accountability Commission has asked the State Government to put the department back on rails within three months or divert its Rs 100 crore budget to strengthen the health/patient care in the rural areas of the State.
The media reports/complaints had alleged that out of 576 centers/institutions of this department, 129 had been rendered defunct due to withdrawal of doctors, shortage of medicines and other facilities etc.
On this, the State Accountability Commission summoned Principal Secretary, Health and Medical Education Department for assistance. On examining him, a Full Bench of the Commission comprising Justice B A Khan (Chairperson)  and Justice J P Singh and Justice B A Kirmani (Members) found prima facie substance in the allegations against the department.
The Principal Secretary admitted before the Commission that the doctors had been withdrawn from some of the rural centers and deployed at Unani Colleges at Jammu and Ganderbal though Ganderbal College was not functional. After the Commission undertook further scrutiny of the departmental functioning and on hearing the Principal Secretary, it was found that the department had not set up Panchkarma Centers which was otherwise an essential component of Indian System of Medicine touted to be an alternative system of medicine for catering to the health requirements particularly of the rural population.
The Commission also found that the departmental functioning left much to be desired due to alleged irregularities in running of its centers and deployment of its doctors in comfort zones for various considerations, lack of supervision by District Officers, groupism and absenteeism in its staff, irregularities in the purchase of medicines and prescribing of cross prescriptions by its doctors etc.
On  consideration  of  the  information  furnished  by  the  Principal Secretary and on overall survey of the functioning of the department, the State Accountability Commission asked the Government to redeploy those doctors withdrawn from the rural centers, take steps to set up Panchkarma Centers at District Headquarters, train at least 50 Therapists for these Panchkarma Centers, take steps for regularization of the existing AYUSH Units,  set up supervisory mechanism to check the malpractice    of ISM Doctors prescribing Allopathic medicines in hospital centers and at their own places of practice.
The Commission has granted three months time to Principal Secretary Health & Medical Education to act on these interim measures/recommendations and file status report of working of department  on next date of hearing.