Sanctioned 2 yrs back, 21 PHCs yet to be made functional in Ladakh

*Finance Deptt sleeping over approval for manpower

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Sept 8: Exposing the tall claims of PDP-BJP Coalition Government about making available healthcare facilities at the door steps of the people in the rural and far-flung areas of the State, 21 New Type Primary Health Centres sanctioned for Ladakh region about two years back have yet not been made functional mainly because of the failure of the Finance Department to accord approval to the creation of manpower. Not only this, even the already established Primary Health Centres have been reeling under acute shortage of Medical Officers.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that during the year 2014, 21 New Type Primary Health Centres were sanctioned for Ladakh region—11 in Leh district and 10 in Kargil district by way of upgrading equal number of existing Sub-Centres vide Government Order No.585-HME dated October 17, 2014.
The objective behind the sanction for 21 New Type Primary Health Centres was to make available healthcare facilities at the door steps of the people of those areas which were not having health centres in their immediate vicinity.
Moreover, one post of Medical Officer was also sanctioned for each newly sanctioned New Type Primary Health Centre along with hiring of one casual worker, who would work as Nursing Orderly. Soon after the sanctioning of these centres, the Department of Health took up the case with the Finance Department for keeping necessary salary provision/wages in Budget Estimates, sources informed.
However, despite lapse of two years, the approval from the Finance Department is awaited as a result of which these 21 New Type Primary Health Centres could not be made functional till date and the targeted populace failed to get healthcare facilities at its door steps, sources regretted, adding “the non-serious approach in granting approval for manpower creation is notwithstanding the fact that Health Department took up the matter with the concerned authorities in the Finance Department a number of times during the past two years”.
“The hanging fate of 21 New Type Primary Health Centres that too for a difficult terrain districts of Leh and Kargil clearly indicates that like the previous dispensations even the present PDP-BJP Coalition Government believes only in making tall claims about flagging health as priority sector instead of translating the same into reality”, sources said.
What to talk of making New Type Primary Health Centres functional even the existing Primary Health Centres in both the districts have been reeling under acute shortage of manpower particularly Medical Officers thereby hampering their functioning and creating impediments in providing timely and quality healthcare to the people of the respective areas.
Citing the example of Leh district, sources said that against 78 sanctioned posts of Medical Officers, 41 are lying vacant during the past quite long time mainly because of the fact that those doctors who were posted in different health institutions of Leh managed their deputation to other departments like Police, ICDS etc that too outside the Ladakh region by utilizing their political and other connections.
“The Primary Health Centres in crucial areas are without regular Medical Officers and their functioning is being managed by the contractual doctors engaged under National Health Mission”, sources said, adding “it is irony of the system that those who are on regular pay roll of the State Government are not ready to perform in Ladakh region and want meagerly paid contractual doctors to perform their duties”.
Stating that majority of the PHCs in Leh are without Medical Officers, sources said that the Chief Medical Officer of Leh had written to all the concerned quarters for getting the vacant posts filled up by cancelling the deputations of the doctors, who were transferred to Leh by way of formal orders issued by the Health Department but situation has remained unchanged during the past over one year.
The intensity of the prevailing situation can be gauged from the fact that in Sub-District Hospital Diskit in Nobra, out of seven sanctioned posts of Medical Officers under general category three are lying vacant due to the indifferent attitude of the senior functionaries of the Health Department during the past quite long time, sources pointed out.

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