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SHILLONG | Sep 12, 2019:

Health and Family Welfare Minister, Alexander Laloo Hek has requested Chief Minister to propose to the Union government to constitute a high level committee to enquire into the style of functioning of the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS).

Replying to a short duration discussion on the matter raised by Mawphlang independent legislator, SK Sunn during the Autumn Session of the Meghalaya Legislative Assembly today, Hek said that the high level committee will include senior IAS officer in the State, senior officer from the Central Government and one or two technical experts from any big medical institute like AIIMS, GB Pant or Medanta Hospital for free and fair inquiry to resolve the issue in NEIGRHIMS hospital.

Health Minister, AL Hek (Pic Credit: Sam Lyngdoh)

He further informed that he along with the Chief Minister had personally met Union Health Minister, J.P. Nadda in New Delhi and apprised him of the affairs in NEIGRHIMS.

“It has been learnt that the Central Bureau of Investigation has also conducted searches in NEIGRHIMS on August 30, 2019 and it is understood that some documents have been seized. We are waiting for further report on the matter. But we would like to assure the august House and the MLA from Mawphlang that the situation is being closely watched by us,” Health and Family Welfare Minister said.

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On the death of the 55-year-old woman, late Danisha Blah from Mawphlang at NEIGRHIMS, Hek said that the State has taken a serious view of this case.

“Even before this unfortunate incident, I had briefed the Union Health Minister on May 03, 2019 urging him to immediately intervene in the current situation of crisis and chaos in NEIGRHIMS,” Hek said.

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He further informed that the cause of death was due to non-availability of surgical items at Amrit Pharmacy for performing the surgery.

Moving the short duration discussion, Sunn said that the internal conflict at NEIGRHIMS started after the present director, Dr D.M. Thappa joined in the institution in 2017.

“It is learnt that the administration came up with the vacation schedule that left the institute without doctors in critical departments because there was not enough faculty strength in many of the departments,” he said.

The independent legislator from Mawphlang also said that it has been reported that the Governing Council of the institute has also remained dormant for more than four years now. “This could perhaps be one of the primary reasons that led to the occurrence of a number of such unfortunate events in the institute,” Sunn added.

Mawphlang MLA, SK Sunn (Pic Credit: Sam Lyngdoh)

Taking part in the discussion, several members of the opposition and also one member from the treasury bench urged the government to take measures to ensure streamlining of the functioning in the premier health institute.

They highlighted several anomalies in its functioning in the recent years and called for urgent intervention by the state government.

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Meanwhile, the Administration and Cardiology department of NEIGRIHMS today welcomed the suggestion made by the Health and Family Welfare Minister, AL Hek in the Assembly.

“I can’t say anything whatever decision they have taken, let the state government decide; from my end I was open for an inquiry from the very beginning,” said NEIGRIHMS, Director Dr DM Thappa.

“When we work in an institution we fall under the scrutiny of anybody,” he added.

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Meanwhile, when contacted, Head of the Department of Cardiology, Dr Aneemesh Mishra said, “I am open to any kind of enquiry and I have been saying that time and again and there so many allegations they made against the department and whatever we are doing there is nothing wrong we are trying to deliver our best”.

It may be mentioned that the case was taken up in the Meghalaya High Court as well after Senior Lawyer; SP Mahanta had filed a PIL.

The High Court had recently disposed off the case after it found that the NEIGRIHMS authorities have streamlined the functioning in the hospital and supply of medicines and equipments were made available by various pharmacies including AMRIT pharmacy.


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