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Chandigarh: Suspended NHM staff to be allowed entry to facilities only with prior nod

To ensure un-interrupted health services and to save life of the patients during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the existing staff has been deputed in shifts/extra duty to overcome the shortage, the officials said.

Written by Hina Rohtaki | Chandigarh |
November 4, 2021 9:55:14 am
Chandigarh National Health Mission Employees Union held a strike in August.

In the faceoff between the Chandigarh Administration and the National Health Mission (NHM) staff- who have been on strike, the UT Health Secretary Yashpal Garg on Wednesday said that the 178 NHM staff whose contract has been terminated will not be allowed to enter any health facility of the city without written permission.

It was also said that their services have been terminated over violation of terms and conditions of the contract.

“The narrative being played by the former staff of NHM that the UT Administration was forcing the service conditions of Deputy Commissioner (DC) rate upon the NHM staff is factually incorrect and malicious. The correct factual position is that the UT Administration gave them clear options to choose either the pay as per DC rate or as per the NHM norms, with conditions of the respective option being applicable. Best of both the options could not be provided to them, and they were terminated for misconduct and gross violation of the terms and conditions of the agreement for contractual appointment,” said Health Secretary Yashpal Garg.

It was said that the staff were engaged by the UT Health Department under the National Health Mission (NHM) and their pay and other service conditions were regulated as per the contract agreements executed under the guidelines issued by the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

“During the month of August, some of the NHM staff went on strike with the demand for salary as per the DC rates and somehow the same was agreed by the administration. Considering that their appointments were based as per the contractual agreement, vide order dated October 26, 2021, they were asked to exercise either of the following options in five working days. The options included availing salary or wages as per the DC rates and adhering to all the Terms and Conditions mentioned in the office order issued by the Deputy Commissioner regarding the number of duty hours and leave etc, or continuing to draw the salary as per the NHM Norms,” he said.

It was also mentioned in the order dated October 26, 2021, that in case either of the option is not excercised, it would be presumed that the new pay structure (DC) rates along with the prescribed service norms was not acceptable to the staffers and accordingly the pay would be disbursed as per the old pay structure, which is the NHM norms.

It was said that each of the NHM staff was free to opt for salary on DC rates with applicable terms and condition.

“It is pertinent to mention here that the NHM norms provide for lesser number of working hours, better leaves and other service conditions. However, the monthly salary /wages as per NHM norms is lesser than the DC rates,” it was stated.

On the evening of October 27, 2021, some of the NHM staff met the DHS and MS GMSH-6. The NHM staff insisted that they should be paid as per DC rates, however, they did not agree to the other terms and conditions as per DC rates, which included increased working hours (8 hours instead of 6 hour daily) and lesser leaves etc.

The UT stated that the sudden strike observed by the NHM staff did not give them sufficient time to make alternative arrangements and it had badly affected the health services during the ongoing pandemic, when the health facilities were overburdened with patients.

To ensure un-interrupted health services and to save life of the patients during the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, the existing staff has been deputed in shifts/extra duty to overcome the shortage, the officials said.

The outsourcing agency also provided some staff and preference was given to those persons who were deputed during the second wave of Covid-19, however, they were subsequently disengaged.

A fresh process to fill up the required number of vacancies under the NHM has already been initiated.

“In the given circumstances and the gross misconduct and violation of Terms and Conditions, the termination of services of the 178 NHM staff was the correct decision and need of the hour. It must be ensured that the persons whose contractual appointment has been terminated because of the misconduct are not considered in the fresh selection process,” it was stated.

It was also mentioned that actual requirement of the staff will be re-assessed after an exercise of rationalisation and thereafter, due process will be followed as per the NHM guidelines for fresh selection of staff and “that they are not allowed to enter in any of the health facility in the city without a written permission.”

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