Shimla: Himachal Pradesh High Court has directed state government to take immediate steps to rationalize the staffing pattern, as per the 2016 guidelines in the Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

Court observed that in some of the PHCs in the state, the staff is posted in excess in contravention of staffing pattern guidelines.

The Court further directed that after such rationalization, if some staff is found surplus/left, then they should be adjusted/posted in the Community Health Centres (CHCs).

The Division Bench comprising the Chief Justice L Narayana Swamy and Justice Anoop Chitkara passed these orders on a writ petition alleging scarcity of doctors and staff in the Primary Health Centre at Ghanahatti and seeking directions to the state to make all the PHC and CHCs functional on regular basis in the state.

While hearing the matter, the Court observed that as per the affidavit filed by the state, the staffing norms have been notified by the State vide Notification dated 7 April, 2016, to ensure the optimal utilization of the manpower posted in various peripheral health institutions of the state as well as the fiscal position of the State. 

As per notification, the staffing pattern is that each PHC consists of one doctor, one pharmacist and one Class-IV employee.

However, it was brought to the notice of the Court by Counsel for the petitioner that in about 98 PHCs postings have been made contrary to the 2016 guidelines.

While perusing the data pertaining to excess staffing pattern in the PHCs, the Court observed that Seventy-Seven Doctors and thirty-seven Class-IV/peons can be immediately transferred to the PHCS where these posts are lying vacant.

The Court further observed that on the one hand the Government has accepted the 2016 guidelines qua posting of staff to various PHCs but on the other hand acted quite contrary to the affidavit filed. 

The requisite strength of the doctors and other officials to the PHCs is on the basis of requirements, but it appears that these persons who are surplus, have not been posted in public interest and have been posted just only to accommodate kith and kin, which is contrary to the policy and is a liability on the public exchequer as these persons have been paid salary by the Government though they are surplus in nature as per 2016 guidelines, observed the court.

The court also observed that the government has to take immediate necessary steps and pass appropriate orders as to how these persons are being paid salary without any work from the public exchequer and this exercise has to be done within a period of three weeks.

The state has been directed by the Court to furnish individual orders of transfer of these persons to particular PHC and CHC and directed to file the compliance report by 1 December, 2020.

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Rahul Bhandari is Editor of TheNewsHimachal and has been part of the digital world for last 15 years.