NHRC asks Odisha government to take action against absentee doctors

Bhubaneswar, Nov 12: NHRC on Tuesday asked Odisha government to take stern action against doctors found abstaining from duty.

The directions were issued by NHRC member S C Sinha to the secretary to the health and family welfare department while hearing a petition on the plight of poor patients due to lack of doctors in rural pockets.

The state government has so far identified 423 doctors who regularly abstain from their places of posting. "We are taking actions against such doctors. This apart, the state government has already started taking steps to fill up vacant posts by appointing ad hoc doctors. The government has also hiked the remmuneration of contractual doctors in order to encorage them," health and family welfare secretary Arati Ahuja said.

NHRC also criticised the government for the plight of the tribal and dalit students in state-run school hostels and sought to know why a single agency was not formed to look after the students in tribal schools and hostels.

While the school and mass education department was in-charge of the schools, the scheduled tribe and scheduled caste welfare department look into the affairs of the school hostels.

The commission also asked the government to include migrant labourers under different social security schemes like MGNREGA, pension scheme and others, besides taking tough steps against liquor shops if they sell to persons below 21 years of age.

In Odisha the legal age of drinking is 21, official sources said.

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