Officials forced to find goons among doctors

A remark reportedly made by the UP Health Minister has put officials of his department in great difficulty. They have been forced to look for ‘goondas’ among the government doctors in the state.

A senior health official, according to sources, has written to chief medical officers to furnish information about the ‘goondas’ among doctors in their respective districts as the information had been sought by a social activist under the Right to Information Act.

Health Minister Ahmed Hasan had, a few days ago, while speaking at a function, said that 20 per cent of the doctors in government service in the state are “goondas”. He apparently was not satisfied with the functioning of the health services in the state, especially in rural areas.

Urvashi Sharma, an RTI activist, took note of the minister’s statement after it was carried in the press and filed an application under the RTI Act with the health department seeking information about ‘goondas’ among UP doctors.

“Hasan is the health minister. Whatever he says about his own department must be correct. I simply wanted to know about such doctors,” Sharma told Deccan Herald. She said the health department did not give any information on her query. “There was no reply even when I filed the first appeal,” she said.

She then moved a second appeal. “I have come to know that a directive has been given to the health department to furnish the information sought,” she said.

There have been allegations that government doctors, especially in rural areas, remain away from duty for days together, outsourcing the work to sweepers and other paramedical staff.

Hasan is the same minister, who, a few months ago, had called Durga Shakti Nagpal, the IAS official who had been suspended for taking on sand mafia in Noida, “mindless” and a “liar” and had also tried to cast aspersions on her family.

Hasan also sought to question the official’s family roots.  “You (media) will know who you are supporting when we reveal which family she belongs to,” the minister said without further elaboration.

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