Neigrihms unnecessarily maligned
By Dr Vikas Jagtap
Initially, with respect to the misinformation/fabricated details shared by the concerned individual (Mr. Anderson Rani) in the special article titled “ How Institutions are destroyed: The case of NEIGRIHMS” in the Editorial section of The Shillong Times dated 13/09/2022, it was felt that NEIGRIHMS should not respond to such “baseless allegations” but since the writer apparently does not only have little knowledge of government rules/procedures but also has chosen to ignore truth/facts by accident or by design, it is the moral responsibility of the Institution to provide factual information not only for the benefit all respected readers and informed citizens, but also so that the morale of the highly dedicated doctors, nurses and healthcare delivery support staff of NEIGRIHMS is not negatively impacted. Institutions are likely to be ‘damaged’ by such “malicious misinformation” as fabricated by this individual who appears to have been misled by certain disgruntled and frustrated person/s who find it convenient to resort to slander in the face of failures, lack of professionalism and work ethics.
1. The Deputy Director (Administration) aka DD(A) of NEIGRIHMS, which is a Central Government Autonomous Institute is appointed on tenure basis, as per Department of Personnel & Training (DoPT) rules and Recruitment Rules notified by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, Government of India (MoHFW, GoI) through duly approved selection processes and NOT “….with the connivance of self-centered individuals who are at the helm of the Institute affairs” or “with the support of the Health Minister of the state, the MP who belongs to the same Church as the Deputy Director…..” as has so irresponsibly been stated by the writer. It is a fact that the tenure of the last DD(A) was extended by MoHFW, GoI. It was done solely on the basis of the eligibility of the Officer. His tenure was extended as per DOPT rules, till December 15, 2021. For further clarification in this regard, information may be obtained from the MoHFW, GoI.
2. It may be clarified that the Section Officer of Stores & Procurement Section was designated as “Liaison Officer” in May 2017 by Dr. D M Thappa, the then Director of NEIGRIHMS, as there were few officers with the experience of having worked in Central Government Organizations/ Institutions’ across India, at that point of time.
3. The writer is obviously ignorant about the details of this issue, like many others, and about government rules and procedures as he states that the Executive Engineer (EE) managed to manipulate the current Director to designate him as the Superintending Engineer (SE). For his information, the Director NEIGRIHMS does NOT have the authority to do so. The post of EE was upgraded to that of SE till further orders without financial implications by the MoHFW, GoI. The comments about the responsibilities of the Engineering department and the relevance of the post of SE merely reflect the ignorance of the writer.
4. With respect to the writer’s statement “the only activity that moves in full throttle is Purchase”, it is clarified that there are purchase of books, journals, manpower services, estate services, civil works, electrical services/stores, general stores, medical stores, drugs, medical assets etc. which are being processed by different sections of the Institute including the Library, General administration, civil, electrical, stores & procurement section, as per delegated authority and the rules in force. NEIGRIHMS spends a sizeable amount of its budget for purchasing various types of goods/services to discharge the duties and responsibilities assigned to it and these purchases are made following a uniform, systematic, efficient and cost effective procedure, in accordance with the GFR 2017 rules as amended from time to time and other orders/memoranda /regulations of the Government. The entire procedure of procurement is on a digital platform to the extent of availability, in accordance with Rule 149 of the General Financial Rules, 2017 issued by the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure, that has mandated that all Government Organizations procure all goods and services available online on GeM (Government e-Marketplace) GeM only (www. gem.gov.in). The above are placed on record and may be shared for the information and education of the esteemed writer/citizens.
5. It was noted that the writer, not indicated to be a medical/health professional has commented on a technical issue like operation theaters. The eight (8) units of fully Modular Operation Theatres (OTs) with five units of IP integration processed were planned since inception but could not be finalized, by the Institute. The same are noted in the minutes of the 28th Standing Finance Committee held on 13th January’ 2009 under the Chairmanship of Secretary, MoHFW, GoI, New Delhi. It is confirmed that the Medial Superintendent had conveyed that several surgical disciplines like General Surgery, Obstetrics & Gynecology, Urology, CTVS, Orthopedics, Ophthalmology, ENT, Neuro-Surgery, Surgical Oncology, and invasive procedures like endoscopy etc., are being undertaken and with increasing work load, OT capacity had to be augmented as it was considered essential and inevitable. Hence, eight (8) modular OTs are being established by maximizing the utilization of the allocated area on one floor, that would result in the most effective and optimal synergy of all concerned – Doctors, Anesthetists Nursing Officers, Technicians and Support staff of the Operation Theatres.
6. With respect to the replacement of old systems/equipment, as and when the respective Departments convey that equipment/systems being used by them have completed their lifecycle as per contract and in case of obsolescence, non-availability of maintenance/service support from Manufactures/OEM, on the recommendation of the condemnation board, the Institute processes the disposal of the said units and processes purchase of their replacement by trading the old units as per provisions in Rules 176 and 217 of GFR 2017, on the approval of the competent authority.
7. Regarding the mention of the appointment of the junior most professor as Dean, it would be good if the writer had done some elementary homework and educated himself about matters related to appointments at NEIGRIHMS. It may be clarified that Director, NEIGRIHMS does not have the authority to appoint the Dean. The appointment of the Dean, NEIGRIHMS is done by the MoHFW, GoI, on tenure basis. Incidentally, amongst many others, one thing that has been appreciated by the Faculty & Staff of NEIGRIHMS about the current Director is that he does go ‘by the book’ and follows all rules.
8. It is also noted with concern that the writer has questioned the Recruitment process which is based solely on a merit based examination. It is for the information of all esteemed readers that the recruitment processes at NEIGRIHMS are in strict compliance with MoHFW and DoPT rules, regulations and instructions regarding the same.
9. The derogatory comment about the working atmosphere at NEIGRIHMS is truly deplorable. The entire NEIGRIHMS workforce functions as one happy family and has performed admirably in the face of adversity as was evidenced in the Covid-19 pandemic. That having been said, we concede that we have a few non-productive and misguided employees in our family who would be better served if they invested their time and energy in their allotted duties. Incidentally, we note with pride that despite the shortage of manpower the current Director was highly reasonable and did not hesitate to issue NOCs to the Faculty members who wished to avail of opportunities elsewhere, including at AIIMS Guwahati as most of them wished to relocate to Guwahati which happens to be their hometown.
10. On the baseless allegations regarding the post of Principal College of Nursing, once again the writer has been disappointing. In 2018, the Ministry had advised re-advertisement of the post since the parameters indicated in the advertisement for the post Principal, College of Nursing was for Direct Recruitment and not for Deputation as per the Statutory provisions. Interviews for the post were held very recently (11th August 2022) and the results too have been declared. The “local and experienced lady” that has been alluded to by the writer was not eligible for the post, and was fully aware of this fact. She approached the High Court in this regard and the verdict was not in her favour. Just to educate the writer regarding the Recruitment Rules (RRs) for all posts at NEIGHRIHMS – the Institute strictly follows RRs that are approved by the Health Ministry and are in public domain.
In view of the above, it is disappointing to note and does not appear to be a coincidence that a spate of letters and this particular special article full of factually incorrect information and twisted facts with the intention of portraying NEIGRIHMS in poor light have appeared in the past few days.
For us, however, it is important to ignore such rants and nurture excellence, especially with PMSSY Institutions like AIIMS, Guwahati expected to be fully operational soon. NEIGRIHMS, being the premiere medical super-specialty institution in this region will continue to strive and move ahead keeping in mind the best interest of the healthcare requirements of the people of the entire North Eastern Region.
(The writer is Public Relation Officer, NEIGRIHMS)