As a final attempt to sort out various issues, including the compulsory rural service (CRS), the students of the government medical colleges in the state are planning to go for another round of strike.
Meanwhile, a fresh controversy has been erupted. There are allegations that though Health Minister V S Sivakumar had taken a favourable decision in response to the demands of the students, some higher officials in the Health Department, sabotaged it.
The allegations got strong back-up when the Kerala Medicos Joint Action Council (KMJAC), which spearheaded the previous strike, also raised the same concern. The students are dissatisfied with the delay in reaching a decision over various demands raised by the KMJAC.
Banking up on the Health Minister’s assurance, the students, who were on the warpath against the CRS and bond system retracted from the agitations on April 23, 2012.
“We held discussions with the minister several times. However, no decision, including revoking of separate CRS for MBBS, post graduation and senior residency, has been implemented yet,” they said.
“On the contrary, Director of Medical Education (DME) has come up with another order. According to it, fresh PG students who did not sign bond contract for CRS will not get stipend. This is against the assurance of the minister,” said Dr P S Jinesh, convener of KMJAC.
According to the order issued on July 25, the first year PG students, who did not sign bond contract, have been denied stipend for July. The KMJAC office-bearers approached the Health Minister demanding withdrawal of this order. “However, the officials concerned refused to revoke the order though the minister had given a verbal order to the DME,” they said. DME V Geetha told Express that the order has been revoked following the health secretary issuing a written order on August 13.
“According to the existing rules, bond should be executed before the first stipend is being disbursed. However, we got written order by Tuesday and we have already revoked the decision to block the stipend for those who have not signed bond. We cannot do anything without a written directive,” Dr Geetha said.
Meanwhile, the minister said that issues would be resolved in a couple of days. “I have discussed the issues with medical students and the officials concerned. The final decision will be taken in a couple of days. We are awaiting opinion from Chief Minister Oommen Chandy before taking a final decision,” the minister told ‘Express’.