In open defiance of the Punjab and Haryana High Court orders that allowed rural medical officers (RMOs) in the state to compete for the 40 per cent open quota seats for admission to MD courses in the three government medical colleges,other contenders for these seats staged a dharna at the Baba Farid University of Medical Sciences,Faridkot,on Tuesday.
The agitating doctors did not allow the university to conduct counselling for the 40 per cent open quota seats and gheraoed the vice-chancellors office for several hours forcing the VC to suspend the process till almost 6 pm.
The Punjab and Haryana High Court had on Monday directed the university to consider the RMOs in the 40 per cent quota. The court had said that doctors serving in rural areas under the zila parishads should also be given an additional weightage of 10 per cent for every year of rural service.
The protesting doctors,however,hurriedly moved the high court on Tuesday against Mondays order but were not given any relief. An earlier HC order (on July 25) had ruled that RMOs cannot be treated at par with PCMS for admission to the 60 per cent in-service quota seats.
We are beginning with the counselling now. We will admit only those who are in the merit list, said BFU V-C Dr S S Gill in the evening.
The Rural Medical Service Association president Dr Aslam Parvez,on the other hand,said the the doctors who were protesting were largely those who were in the PCMS and had been given no objection certificates (NoCs) from the department of health to compete in the open quota seat. On one hand the PCMS have the 60 per cent quota seats and then they are also given NoCs to get through the 40 per cent quota seats, he said.
Dr Aslam Parvez further alleged that the BFU protest had the complete backing of the health department and that the vice-chancellor was working on the orders of the health secretary. In fact the whole problem has been created because the health secretary has given a lot of NoCs to PCMS doctors to compete in the open quota. It was decided five years ago that PCMS doctors who have just joined the service will not be given an NoC to compete in the open category. Only when they complete a requisite number of years in service can they become eligible to do MD in the 60 per cent quota, Dr Aslam Parvez said.
Health secretary Vini Mahajan,meanwhile,said it was the natural right of every MBBS doctor to try and compete for an MD seat. Just because the doctor has joined PCMS does not mean that he or she cannot do an MD. They can go in for the open competition in the 40 per cent category like any other MBBS candidate. But once the MD is done these doctors have to continue to serve in PCMS or pay the department before they leave, she said. She added that according to her information the doctors who were protesting at the BFU were not PCMS doctors who had been given NoCs but MBBS doctors vying for MD seats in the open category.