PATNA: The split in Bihar Health Services Association, a body that is supposed to represent over 2,000 government doctors, was formalized on Sunday with a group electing its own office-bearers in addition to the existing ones who were selected in April this year.
The other group elected Patna’s Infectious Diseases Hospital superintendent Dr Akhilesh Kumar Singh as president, Dhanarua medical officer in charge Dr U P N Singh as general secretary and PMCH’s Dr Sunil Kumar as working president. It claims that PMCH superintendent Dr Lakhindra Prasad is its patron.
BHSA had elected Dr Ajay Kumar as president and Dr Ranjit Kumar as general secretary in the election held in April last. The other group’s president, Dr Akhilesh Kumar Singh, told TOI, “April’s election was a farce. Only the names of office-bearers were read out and no formal electoral process was followed. The election held on Sunday had support of BHSA’s 85 representatives from all the districts of the state.”
Reached for comment, Dr Ranjit Kumar said, “Such a split is not new. It had happened in 2006 also. Later, there was a compromise.” Asked if he would try to bridge the gap and have a talk with the other group, he said, “We had asked them for talks earlier. Now, we are not going to have any talk,” Dr Ranjit said.
Meanwhile, at a meeting held on Sunday, Dr Ranjit’s group decided to go on strike from July 6 in support of their demands. None of the demands is new. “Every now and then we hear doctors being victimized by patients’ attendants. The government must implement Bihar Medical Service Institution and Person Protection Act, 2011, properly and provide adequate security to doctors. The government doctors must be given three dynamic ACPs and their salary be on par with their central counterparts,” Dr Ranjit said.
However, on the other hand, the newly elected office-bearers of the other BHSA group said, “The government has been giving a proper consideration to our demand. We are not going on strike,” Dr Akhilesh said adding, unlike the other BHSA, they do not oppose Clinical Establishment Act in entirety.
Contractual doctors have already split into two groups. Contractual Doctors Association has threatened to go on strike later this month alleging the government has gone back on its promises it had made when they called off their strike in February. However, president of Bihar State Contract Doctors Association Dr Amitabh said, “The interview for our regularization is going on in a very smooth manner. By July 4, it will be concluded. There is no question of going on strike,” he said and claimed the support of 1,390 contract doctors out of 1,600.