SKIMS: A Political Theatre

January 10, 2018 EDITORIAL 235 Views
SKIMS: A Political Theatre

Kashmir’s premier healthcare center Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Institute (SKIMS) has become a political theatre for the doctors and medicos of the Institute. The SKIMS has been always in news for wrong reasons. The latest was when three doctors were caught practicing privately in violation to the government ban. The sting operation done by the local correspondent of Republic TV exposed this otherwise well-known fact. There was mixed reaction from people as many believed that banning the private practice in itself is wrong. However, the operation done by the journalist was well received owing to the fact that we willingly or unwillingly keep our eyes shut to these violations. What followed was, however, surprising as the government quickly responded to the situation and attached the Director to General Administration Department (GAD) besides suspended the erring doctors. While the suspension is a welcome step, attaching the director seems to be bereft of logic. Even if the sting operation had to be taken on its face value, the government should have followed a procedure and ordered inquiry into the matter which could be time bound. But the government acted in haste and punished the head of the institution without even issuing a charge sheet to him. The institution which is of immense importance to the people was virtually left headless as the charge was given to Commissioner/Secretary Health who sits in civil secretariat Jammu. While one can understand that the violation of government order is to be enforced by the head of the institution but the remedy does not lie in removing him thereby contributing to further destabilization. If the happenings in SKIMS are an indicator the removal of the Director is result of the pressure mounted by a lobby that has been active on all fronts. Instead of setting up a proper inquiry commission which could even look at the role of the director also the government, it seems to have fallen into the trap of a mafia that has been ruling the roost in this institution for long time. Unfortunately, successive governments have patronized this mafia and that is why stability has remained elusive. Violating the private practice ban is nothing new as far as the doctors of this institution is concerned and even the previous Director who was supposed to be the custodian of the values was indulging in private practice at home. But he would go scot free because of thick political and bureaucratic cover he enjoyed.

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