Health Minister Ahmed Hasan,who has put all contractual appointments in the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) on hold pending a review,says that he is the target of corrupt officials and contractors in his department.
I was aware much before that there were irregularities in the contractual appointments under NRHM. On getting specific information I had put on hold the results of selections in four districts. It is due to my honest approach that I have become a obstacle for many. Now,I am their target, Hasan told The Indian Express.
Under NRHM,about 15,000 employees are to be appointed on contractual basis in 74 districts. These include nearly 2,500 Ayush doctors,2,000 dental doctors,2,500 MBBS doctors,besides nearly 8,000 lab technicians,nurses,ANMs,multiple-purpose health workers and optometrists. As many as 15 districts have declared the results of the selection and the process was under way in the other districts. The process will be resumed after laying down new guidelines,sources said.
Hasan said the results of selections in Hamirpur,Jalaun,Pilibhit and Sultanpur were put on hold after he received complaints,much before the Gonda incident involving former Minister of State for Revenue Vinod Kumar alias Pandit Singh occurred. Singh had barged into the residence of the Gonda CMO late in the night and threatened him to change the list of selected contractual Ayush doctors. The Chief Minister later asked him to resign.
The minister said he had been getting complaints from several districts. As for the Gonda incident,he remarked: The incident was sad. Now after going through the record from the district,it is clear that only two candidates from Gonda were appointed. The matter is under investigation by the Divisional Commissioner,we should wait for the report, Hasan remarked.
He said the department was milked by a nexus of corrupt officials,politicians and contractors. They siphoned away Rs 5,000 crore in previous regime. These people know that we have plenty of funds. But this money is for the welfare of poor people of the state. Now their nefarious designs will not succeed. Therefore,I am the biggest hindrance for them, the minister said.
He said he was confident of breaking this nexus in the coming days. They may dislike me and target me for being health minister but their plans will not succeed. What happened in previous government will not be allowed, he asserted.
Hasan said that all chief medical officers (CMOs) in the district were not functioning properly. There have been several instances when people have called me up after being shabbily treated at government hospitals. When I called up the concerned CMOs,they did not pick the phone, Hasan stated.
I always intervene for the poor people,I never call up CMOs for favour to any high-profile person. This is not the way to respond to a minister, Hasan remarked. The minister said he was determined to put things back on the track and medical services will witness a sea change within a year. Tainted officials have been removed from field postings. There will be more such action soon, he said. He added: We have made it clear that the drug stock in district hospitals has to be uploaded on the internet. Multiple checks have been added to ensure that free ambulances reach the patients positively. The checks may annoy many officials but these will be enforced, Hasan remarked.