BHOPAL: After maintaining in the M P high court for over a year that merger of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research (BMHRC) with All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), Bhopal, is being considered in the interest of both institutions, the ministry of health and family welfare has handed over the BMHRC’s administration back to the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). The department of health & research (DHR) had earlier taken charge from the ICMR.
An order issued with the signature of Vinod Kumar, deputy secretary in the government of India, says: “With the approval of competent authority, a high-power committee (HPC) was constituted by the department of health research (DHR) under the chairmanship of secretary, DHR, with members from department of health & family welfare, BMHRC, AIIMS, New Delhi, AIIMS, Bhopal, Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology, Trivandrum (Kerala) to decide the modalities for smooth functioning of BMHRC, Bhopal. The committee after detailed deliberations finalized and submitted its recommendations to the government. The committee recommended transfer of BMHRC to ICMR as one of its institutes. The recommendation of the HPC for transfer of BMHRC to ICMR was considered in the department and accepted by the competent authority. Accordingly, the administrative control of BMHRC stands transferred from DHR to ICMR”. The order was issued on November 29, 2019.
Rachna Dhingra, co-convener of Bhopal Group of Information & Action, which is one of the petitioners in the PIL regarding medical care of gas victims, while reacting to the fresh order on transfer of BMHRC to ICMR, said: “The HPC was set up to look into the merger of BMHRC with AIIMS and how does it go back to ICMR? Also, in the entire order, there is hardly any mention of gas victims. The entire order is focused on the welfare of the director and employees of BMHRC. That is why orders like these get passed because we have an insensitive and incompetent system, which fails to recognise the problems being suffered by gas victims.”
Member of Supreme Court Monitoring Committee, Purnendu Shukla, said: “The DHR should have informed the committee about transfer of BMHRC back to ICMR. It should also have sought permission of the high court, which is seized of a contempt petition accusing DHR of not complying with the Supreme Court order on BMHRC. We shall bring it to the notice of the court.”
The order doesn’t specify who is the competent authority and considerations on which Vinod Kumar approved the BMHRC’s transfer back to ICMR, which had expressed its inability to administer the hospital following which the apex court had transferred the hospital’s administration to DHR in 2015. This was the fourth time that BMHRC’s administration was transferred from one agency to another.
While the apex court — in its August 2012 order — had asked the DHR to develop BMHRC like an autonomous medical education institute so that it could attract competent doctors, the order transferring the hospital’s administration to ICMR talks of “exploring the possibility of its affiliation to Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences for award of medical post graduate (MD/MS) and super speciality (DM/MCH ) degrees to medical graduates who join the post graduate and super speciality courses in BMHRC. It would also help BMHRC in capacity building and making it an institute of excellence”, says the order.
The order proposes to retain the present director, BMHRC, and allow her to complete the tenure of five years from the date of her appointment as director, BMHRC, on deputation.
The BMHRC employees will have the option to continue their service under the government of India or work with BMHRC under ICMR. If he/she decides to continue with the government of India, his/her case would be referred to the surplus cell of DoPT for posting in some office/organization under the government of India as per the policy laid down for the purpose.-Times Of India