THE ROW between Medical Education Minister Anil Joshi and the Punjab Medical Council (PMC) President Dr G S Grewal continued on Tuesday, with the PMC chief questioning Joshi’s claims that his term had ended on December 21, 2014, as per the PMC Act,1916.
While Joshi has said a new president needed to be nominated, Dr Grewal categorically stated that his tenure lasts till December 21, 2016, as per the amended PMC act. “I have left the decision on the CM to take the final call on it. But it is indeed disheartening to hear such statements from a minister who is supposed to check the standards of medical education,” said Dr Grewal, who is the brother of Maheshinder Grewal, the media advisor to Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.
Dr Grewal alleged that he was being targeted as he had raised the issue of “ghost faculty” being employed in medical colleges looking for recognition from the Medical Council of India (MCI). “The allegations against me began once I identified 400 doctors of Punjab who work as ‘ghost faculty’ in a few medical colleges of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh. It was a cumulative figure of faculty between 2008 and 2015. Instead of taking action against such doctors who are playing with the future of the students, the minister is taking about my term and had even initiated an inquiry against me in October 2015,” he added.
Dr Grewal further said that the list of 400 doctors was ready in May last year after the state medical councils were ordered to submit a report on such staff, who visit colleges for days in a year during inspection, by the MCI. He alleged that till date no action has been taken against the doctors.
The PMC president also said that the 400 doctors were served notices by state medical council but only 22 of them replied to the notices. “Rather than discussing the issue of ghost faculty with me even once, as I had written a detailed letter to the minister as well on this issue, he (Joshi) ordered an inquiry against me in October 2015 and asked department to study all complaints against me. If my term as PMC member had expired, then why was an inquiry ordered against me? The minister needs to explain,” Dr Grewal said.
Joshi had in a public function at Phagwara last week said that the PMC president’s term had expired and that he had asked the secretary (medical education) to nominate a new president with immediate effect.
Dr Grewal, however, claimed that the PMC Act was amended in 2010 and that the council was reconstituted on December 22, 2011, for a three-year term. He further said that in 2014, the secretary (medical education) had issued another notification making the correction that the “three years” in the previous notification should be read as “five years”, by virtue of which his (Grewal’s) and the council’s term ends only on December 22, 2016.
Education Minister Joshi was not available for comments despite repeated attempts while Hussan Lal, secretary (medical education), said,” I cannot comment on this issue as the matter of tenure of PMC president is under consideration by the state government”.