Updated: August 26, 2020 8:14:19 am
Days after the Karnataka police registered a First Investigation Report (FIR) against Mysuru Zilla Panchayat Chief Executive Officer on charges of “abetment to suicide” following the death of a health officer, the state IAS Officer’s Association Tuesday condemned the government action, saying it has “brought down the morale of field officers”.
“The act of lodging FIR against CEO ZP, Mysore, has brought down the morale of field officers and such acts will deteriorate the administrative efficiency and effectiveness. The state government should support the hard work being put in by all the officers at the field level,” a statement issued by the Association read.
The alleged suicide of Nanjangud Taluk Health Officer (THO) Nagendra S R had led to protests in Mysuru on Thursday. Several staff members of the Department of Health and Family Welfare Services had staged a protest outside the District Health Officer’s office in Nazarabad.
Ramachandra — the father of the deceased — has lodged a complaint at the Alanahalli Police Station after which an FIR was filed against Mishra on Thursday with charges under section 306 (Abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.
Opposing the FIR, the Karnataka IAS has urged the State government to stand by its officers. “IAS officers on Covid duty have been working 24/7. This was a very unfortunate incident and no one knows what prompted the doctor to take such a step. To blame an officer for doing his duty is not the right approach,” the statement issued by the Association’s secretary Pankaj Kumar Pandey read.
Amid allegations that Nagendra was under severe work pressure, Medical Education Minister K Sudhakar held talks with representatives of the government doctors’ association. According to Dr H N Ravindra of the Indian Medical Association (IMA) Karnataka chapter, 43-year-old Nagendra had been working tirelessly for the last six months, since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic.
“He (Nagendra) was put under huge pressure by the Mysuru ZP CEO who should be suspended. Criminal proceedings should be initiated against him,” Ravindra had said.
Following his death, the Karnataka Government Medical Officers Association (KGMOA) launched a strike that went on for four days till Monday during which the government transferred Mysuru ZP CEO Prashanth Kumar Mishra without another posting. Deputy Commissioner Abhiram G Sankar was then given the additional charge of CEO as well.
“Nagendra had been at his best in what he was entrusted to, and deserves all praise for his measures to contain the spread of Covid-19 when the Nanjangud pharmaceutical firm cluster was active. The unrealistic targets set by the ZP CEO to collect swab samples for COVID-19 testing in the taluk had put him under pressure,” a health officer in Mysuru told Indianexpress.com
As per the complaint filed by his father, Nagendra had sought discharge from additional responsibilities entrusted to him. “The deceased had been working as the health officer at Kudlapura PHC (Primary Healthcare Centre) in Nanjangud taluk while he was given the additional charge of THO. According to the complaint we received, the doctor had alerted his higher officials of the lack of facilities and manpower to conduct more tests but he was warned of being under the National Disaster Management Act by some superiors in case he failed to meet the targets,” the police said.
While the detailed probe ordered by Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa is still underway, the government had also announced a compensation of Rs 50 lakh to the kin of the deceased.
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