Non-Oriya Health Secretary Sabotages the Minister: CM Ought to Know, His Party is spreading AIDS

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

When on July 7, in presence of Panchayati Raj and Law Minister Mr. Arun Kumar Sahoo and Food Supplies and Consumer Welfare, Employment, Technical Education and Training Minister Mr. Sanjay Kumar Das Burma, the Minister of Health and Family Welfare, Information and Public Relations Mr. Atanu Sabyasachi Nayak told me on his own accord, in his Secretariat chamber, that, the issue I had raised has been ordered to be implemented immediately, I was very happy and was sure, Orissa shall be saved from a great disaster.

But I had no idea that his Secretary – a non-Oriya IAS officer – would sabotage him and continue infecting people of Orissa with AIDS through unsafe blood supplied by Red Cross Blood Banks without proper screening.

I had stumbled upon a case of AIDS caused to a 3 year old boy in 2012.

He was a victim of blood transfusion on operation table.

The blood he was given was infected with HIV.

He was a native of a village of Baramba adjoining my birthplace Tigiria. His father had given me the details of how the misfortune engulfed him and had requested me to take such steps that no child should be such a victim of medial mismanagement. His sobs and tears are still alive in my heart.

I investigated into it and found that in 2011 the Orissa High Court, on awarding a cash punishment to the State to the tune of Rs.3 lakhs, had directed that the Orissa Government must immediately adopt NAT method of blood screening as the prevailing method of ELISA was not competent enough to detect HIV in its “window Period”. The Government was sleeping over it.

I exposed the malady repeatedly with updated input. It attracted attention of Sri Prasad Harichandan, then the Opposition Chief Whip, who moved an adjournment motion on the topic. On September 1, 2012, the then health Minister Dr. Damodar Raut answered the motion with an emphatic YES to the NAT method and announced to adopt the method in all Blood Banks “in phased manner”, which would start with four major Blood Banks serving the 3 Government Medical Colleges and the Capital Hospital.

He could not see his announcement implemented because the health secretary and a few mandarins were interested in continuance of the ELISA method.

I continued to expose the apathy of administration in this particular matter, as a big population of transfusion dependent patients were sure to be affected by the dreaded virus. Taking the cue, almost all newspapers of Orissa used their spaces time and again in this mission; but the mandarins did not buzz.

After election 2014, the portfolio of Health came to the hands of the young dynamic Minister Atanu Sabyasach Nayak.

I raised the issue before him, cries of the unfortunate man of Baramba still vibrating in my heart.

He took two days to study the matter and sent the following “Note” (No.23, Dt.19.9.2014) to the Secretary:

“This is regarding implementation of NAT screening method for blood in four centres catering to 6 major blood banks of the State.

The Hon’ble High Court in 2011 on one PIL case filed before it had passed an order for earliest implementation of NAT. The then Hon’ble Minister, Health and F.W., Odisha had assured on the floor of the House for implementation of NAT in phased manner while answering an adjournment motion in the subject on 01,09,2012. A Technical Committee constituted by the Government had visited two States i.e. Karnatak and Uttarpradesh and inspected various centres where NAT was implemented and had given their report.

I am told, the SBTC was directed to go ahead for implementation of the project. The major procedure involving Financial and Technical formalities are also over. The Technical Expert Committee has also given its views on the Request of Proposal received.

It is a matter of concern, why the important decision to implement the direction of Hon’ble High Court has not been operationalized till date.

A detail report in this regard is to be called for at the earliest. A meeting in this regard may also be convened at your level as early as possible to expedite the process.
Sd.
A.S.Nayak,16.9.14

One year has passed away since then. Implementation is hanging under many pretenses.

This is a classic instance of how incompetent or ill-motivated mandarins in the Secretariat have been playing tricks upon the political Government.

It is an instance of how a non-Oriya IAS officer has continuously kept the Minister in dark, while pushing at least two Oriyas into AIDS everyday by forcing unsafe blood upon them.

Yesterday, the Chief Minister addressed a workshop of his party in matter of Jivan Sindhu, a project of BJD to make the party appear concerned for the people. It transpired from his speech that since commencement of this project six months ago, its collection of blood has reached 37,232 units.

Medico-scientific surveys have established, and the High Level Technical Committee held under the chairmanship of the Health Secretary on 17.10.2014 had held that, “NAT yield (ELISA Negative & NAT positives) is around 500: 1” which means, NAT method detects one case in every 500 units as HIV positive and ELISA detects none.

All the blood units in Orissa are being screened in ELISA method. This prompts us to suspect that out of the 37,232 units of blood collected and supplied by BJD during this six months under the banner of Jivan Sindhu under guidance of the Chief Minister, AIDS causing viruses have been pumped into at least 76 unsuspecting patients.

This is a very serious situation.

Jivan Sindhu is a political program of the ruling party aimed at appearing pro-people as it is increasingly being viewed as a server of avaricious industries at the cost of indigenous population. The CM wants that, before the next election, its blood collection should exceed 5 lakh units.Vote bank politics can go to any extent.

If NAT is not immediately implemented, the said 5 lakh units would be forcing at least 1,000 Oriyas into AIDS by way of blood transfusion.

Health Minister Atanu babu should immediately wake up as the concerned Minister and foil the foul game of the non-Oriya IAS officer, who, as Commissioner-cum-Secretary has been presiding over the horrific delay in implementation of the already approved program, is playing; or if he is unable to administer his Secretary, the attention of this Chief Minister should immediately be drawn into this malicious conduct of the mandarins.

Human life is more precious than the lady IAS officer, whose negligence and incompetency is pushing unsuspecting Oriya patients into the pernicious grip of HIV.

Any further delay must not be allowed.

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Venality may be a Factor: An Instance for Study by the Health Minister

Subhas Chandra Pattanayak

Fortunately for Orissa, the department of utmost importance to human life – the department of Health and Family Welfare – has come to Dr. Damodar Raut, a highly proficient and experienced minister, who can hardly be hoodwinked.

But I am afraid, it will not be easy for him to manage the venal mandarins in this department. I throw an instance for him to study. It pertains to the Chief Minister’s district, Ganjam.

A Very Grim Picture

Orissa has three government Medical Colleges, one of which, MKCG Medical College, is situated in this district. Being the most eminent health care institute in the CM’s own district, it is expected that the College must be having required faculty and facilities. But the reality is blatantly different. The Dean-cum-Principal of the College has written several letters to the Government seeking improvement in faculty position. I will pick up only one for analysis. It bears the despatch number 5970/MCB-2012/Estt-1 and is issued on 10 September 2012. It gives us the shocking account of how a super-specialty department like Endocrinology is being managed by a single person who is a mere assistant surgeon having no requisite qualification for teaching.

When “incidence of non-communicable diseases including Diabetics is mounting”, the Principal has said, the department is having not a single qualified teacher. The only teacher the Government had posted six years ago has gone back to his private practice at Cuttack the next day of joining and has not returned to work despite notices.

Serious Misconduct

“Dr. Sudhir Ranjan Pattnaik has joined as Associate Professor Endocrinology on Dt. 26.06.2006 forenoon on his promotion and transfer from SCB Medical College, Cuttack. Dr. Pattnaik has left his department on dt. 28.06.2006 and is unauthorized absent from duty till date. In spite of several requests and draft charges, he did not turn up. It is reported that he is doing private practice on the broad day light at Cuttack. The department was jeopardized since 28.06.2006. One assistant surgeon has been posted in the department which is not at all sufficient to manage the day to day routine work”. Thus has reported the concerned Principal to the Government in the letter noted above.

MCI Norms Blatantly Violated

As per norms prescribed by Medical Council of India, the department of Endocrinology is bound to have at least one Professor, one Associate Professor and one Assistant Professor in the faculty. But the Principal’s letter establishes that there is not a single faculty in the department of Endocrinology in the M.K.C.G. Medical College, whereas the mandarins in the health department have posted an assistant surgeon to man the super-specialty department. This indicates how blatantly the MCI norms are violated.

Joining Just to Grab a Promotion

As the letter shows, Dr. Sudhir Ranjan Pattnaik was transferred from SCB Medical College, Cuttack to MKCG Medical College, Berhampur on promotion to the rank of Associate Professor. He joined the Berhampur College on 26.06.2006 and left the College for Cuttack the next day, creating vacancy in the only faculty post since 28.06.2006. He has been in private practice at Cuttack since then and has not come back to Berhampur.

Official records show that “soon after his joining he applied for five days Casual Leave on ground of his father’s illness. Thereafter he is extending the leave from time to time on the grounds like urgent works and father’s illness, causing dislocation in teaching and patient care” The official records further show that, “His leave was refused and he was given recall notice by the DME&T vide his letter No. 13684 Dated 13.10.2006. But he did not join duty and instead sent leave applications thereafter. The Government sent notice again on 13.06.2007 vide order No. 15727 asking him to join immediately as his absence was causing serious dislocation in teaching and patient care. He did not care a fig.

Proceeding

This being serious violation of Orissa Government servants Conduct Rules, 1989, he was charged with (i) Disobedience of orders of government/higher authorities, (ii) Negligence in duty and (iii) Misconduct. The Government promulgated a Memorandum on 3 March 2008 bearing number 6224 that subjected him to disciplinary proceedings under Rule 15 of Orissa Civil Services (CC&A) Rules, 1962. The statutory ‘Statement of Allegation’ annexed to the Memorandum reads:

“Dr. Sudhir Ranjan Pattnaik, Associate Professor, Endocrinology, MKCG Medical College, Berhampur remained on prolonged absence without leave address after joining for duty on a promotional post on transfer from SCB Medical College, Cuttack. He is (the) only senior teacher to man the Department of Endocrinology at MKCG Medical College, Berhampur. He has taken leave, even if his leave has been refused and recall notice has been issued vide Notice No. 15727 Dt.13.06.2007. The unauthorized absence of Dr. S.R.Pattnaik adversely affected teaching and patient care”.

Proceeding Suppressed

This disciplinary proceeding is suppressed and Dr. Pattnaik has not been subjected to rigors of inquiry by the Disciplinary Proceeding Authority for the misconduct shown in the charge sheet. On the other hand, no step has ever been taken to demote him as he has not at all worked as an Associate Professor to which rank he was promoted.

Misconduct Rewarded

Dr. Pattnaik is a private practitioner in Endocrinology at Cuttack. Through a dubious process, he had grabbed a lecturer post in Endocrinology in February 1997. The matter had formed the crux of a case in the State Administrative Tribunal vide O.A.No.166/97 and the condemnable role played by the then Health Secretary Ms. Meena Gupta in obliging Pattnaik had annoyed the administration. A recall of this makes it clear that since the beginning of his career Dr. Pattnaik has a great clientage in his private practice at Cuttack, for which, just after grabbing the promotion by joining at MKCH Medical College, Berhampur, he had rushed back to Cuttack, whereto he was lobbying for a posting. The incumbent Secretary of Health has taken steps to make his lobby successful.

The Secretary of the department has moved a file to reward Dr. Pattnaik with a posting to SCB Medical College, Cuttack in the rank of Associate Professor in blatant disregard to the fact that by abandoning his post at MKCG Medical College immediately after joining, he has abandoned his promotion, as during these six years, he has not taken up any class as the Associated Professor.

As far as I know, as on today, the concerned file is on the table of the health minister Dr. Raut.

Whether he will succumb to the nefarious game the bureaucracy has played in this case or will reject the Secretary’s proposal with orders for enquiry into why instead of proposing for demotion of Dr. Pattnaik as he has not rendered any service in his promotional post so far, his posting to SCB medical College with benefits of promotion is proposed; and if not venality, which is the factor behind this move, will certainly be watched.

Post Fixing

A similar proposal is on the anvil, as per confidential sources in the department of health, for continuation of Dr. Bijaya Kumar Sahu in the Capital Hospital, Bhubaneswar, on his promotion to the rank of Joint Director, Health, Level-I. This is post fixing in favor of Dr. Sahu, who has been in the same place of posting for more than one and half decades. If not venality, what factors his constant posting in Bhubaneswar needs also be investigated into.

There are hundreds of instances where the mandarins in the Health secretariat have protected the black sheep and pushed health care into disarray through fixation of postings.

We may repeat an earlier observation that in the health department, “posts are being clandestinely auctioned and whosoever gives the highest click gets posting to his/her center of choice against “any available vacancy” in that center!

Innocent doctors are being transferred from their posts to accommodate the highest bidders and representations of the Doctors as such disadvantaged are kept pending for years till palms are greased for fetching a favor”.

With no change in the scenario and honest Doctors perishing in disadvantageous posts in difficult terrains for decades so that the dishonest ones that pay more time to private practice than their duties in government hospitals may stay in lucrative places, we had wondered, if humanitarian Doctors need godfathers in order not to be harassed.

In Service without rendering any service!

But the government does not bother. Dishonest Doctors earn huge money from private practice. They abandon their duties in government hospitals while continuing in government service. Like Dr. Pattnaik, they fetch promotional benefits without rendering any service in the posts promoted to. Their services are never terminated for abandonment of duty. They are usually regularized when they join in their posts of choice.

They stay in service even without rendering any service! One such example is Dr. Nishit Mohanty.

He belongs to the Orissa Medical Education Service and is a faculty in Nephrology.

But from the day one of his faculty career, he has not taken a class either in the college of his posting or in any Medical College under the Government. He is working in top private hospitals at Bhubaneswar and has a roaring private practice. Government has not taken any action against him.

He deserves to be dismissed with retrospective effect. But that is not happening.

If no action is taken against him till he reaches a qualifying age and stage for pension, he shall join just to get the pension and fetch fabulous amount of pension and gratuity and all ancillary benefits from the State exchequer.

Dr. Raut may verify the service book of this man and find out why the Secretary of his department has not taken any action against this Doctor.

I have given these samples just to see how the Minister reacts. You may keep it in the category of case study.