Miffed at “not being kept in the loop” about the programmes conducted pertaining to the PC&PNDT Act, Haryana Health Minister Anil Vij Thursday shot off a letter to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar stating he will not chair any meetings on the issue.
Being the Health Minister, Vij is required to chair meetings to review the progress regarding implementation of the Act across the state. Vij refused to chair the meeting that was scheduled to be held today.
The activities under the Pre-Conception and Pre-Natal Diagnostic Techniques Act are monitored by the “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao” Secretariat set up in the office of the CM. An IAS officer, Rakesh Gupta in the rank of Additional Principal Secretary to the CM, is incharge of the scheme in Chief Minister’s office.
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Talking to The Indian Express, Vij said, “A meeting is required to be held under the chairmanship of the Health Minister. But the CM has made a cell headed by Rakesh Gupta that is overseeing the work of PNDT. I have no information on the issue or activities undertaken by this cell. They [Rakesh Gupta and his staff] do not tell me or ask me anything. Why should I chair the meeting in such a case?”
Vij added, “All our Chief Medical Officers are so frightened with that man [Rakesh Gupta], that they ask who is their boss, whether it is me or him. I cannot explain to them because I am not clear myself. So I said it is better that the meeting is chaired by Rakesh Gupta as he knows what is happening across the state on the PC&PNDT Act front.”
Vij has also sought that the rules under which he is required to chair the meeting should be changed. “The issue was raised in the Vidhan Sabha as well where I had said Rakesh Gupta should give the reply as I was not aware of the issue on which the question was asked”.
This is not the first time that Vij is at loggerheads with Gupta over the issue. In November last year, the then Additional Chief Secretary, Health RR Jowel had written a letter to the Deputy Commissioners and Civil Surgeons that they should not attend any video-conference called by Gupta on the issue without taking permission from either him or Vij.
Despite repeated attempts, Dr Rakesh Gupta did not respond to phone calls or messages. The Haryana government has registered more than 300 FIRs under the PC&PNDT Act and the MTP Act in the past more than a year.