Omar, Farooq may stay away from SKIMS event
Director’s appointment challenged in High Court
Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR, Dec 3: Reportedly not satisfied with the quality of functioning of the state’s only tertiary care hospital, Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, who also happens to be the Chairman of the highest decision making Governing Body, is unlikely to attend the SKIMS annual day function at SKICC here on its founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s birth anniversary on December 5th. If highly placed sources are to be believed, National Conference President and union Minister of New & Renewable Energy, Dr Farooq Abdullah, would not be a guest on the occasion either. All of Sheikh’s sons and daughters, including Dr Abdullah, and grandson Omar Abdullah would, however, perform Fatiha at his mausoleum after paying obeisance at the nearby revered shrine of Hazratbal early in the morning on Monday.
Coming parallel to Ashoora, the 10th Moharram martyrdom anniversary of Prophet Mohammad’s grandson Hazrat Imam Hussain, Sheikh’s birth anniversary on December 5th would be a lackluster event this year in
Kashmir. Government has already either preponed or postponed or canceled most of the official functions, including public meetings, inaugurations and foundation laying ceremonies previously scheduled on December 5th. These include the ground-breaking function of Rs 350 Cr conservation and development project of in Sumbal-Bandipore belt. Wullar Lake
Sources said that inauguration of a guest house and hotel block of Entrepreneurship Development Institute at Pampore, which is expected to be attended by Chief Minister as well as Minister incharge Industries Sujit Singh Salathia, had also been postponed to December 7th.
National Conference circles today insisted that Sheikh’s birth anniversary would be restricted to the solemn ritual of offering Fatiha and recitation of verses from holy Quran. They said that there be neither a public remembrance meeting at the mausoleum nor any political speeches by leaders of the party.
However, unmindful of the solemnity of Moharram, SKIMS authorities have made all arrangements to hold the Annual Day function of the super-specialty hospital and deemed university on December 5th. If Chairman of the SKIMS Governing Body and union Cabinet Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah chose to stay away, it would be for the time in the last 28 years of age of the hospital that no member from Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s family would be present on this occasion.
Even as Minister incharge Medical Education, Mr R S Chib, is said to have communicated to the SKIMS authorities that he would try his best to be present there for 10 minutes, as of now Minister of State for Health, Javed Dar, is the one-odd political figure who has confirmed his attendance. According to sources, Chief Minister’s Secretariat has conveyed that Mr Omar Abdullah would be “too preoccupied to attend” the SKIMS event on December 5th. Conformation of this communication was not available immediately.
Even as the reason behind Omar Abdullah’s and Dr Abdullah’s reported absence on the event is not precisely known, sources believed to be close to the ruling family maintain that both were “unhappy” with the quality of service at SKIMS. According to these sources, litigations have marred the academic and research atmosphere at the hospital for the last many months. Things have deteriorated to the extent that Professor and Head of Cardio-Vascular and Thorasic Surgery, Dr A G Ahangar, has not only challenged the incumbent Director of SKIMS Dr Shaukat zargar’s appointment in April this year in J&K High Court but has also leveled serious allegations on the competence and integrity of the members of the Search Committee. Dr Ahangar has, inter alia, asked how Members of the Search Committee could interview and recommend their own close relatives and personal physicians.
Having failed to submit his response to the writ petition by its fixed date of November 16th, incumbent Director is understood to have filed a detailed rejoinder to the petitioner last week.
Faculty has also begun to raise questions over the re-employment of a retired woman official (Deputy Registrar) who has been brought back within a month of her retirement and re-employed as Registrar, albeit with a non-cadre nomenclature of the post. Mrs Mehjabeen Banday would function as Registrar but hold the post of “Consultant Academic” against a handsome salary.
Yet another high profile litigation has come up between Additional Professor of the Department of Urology Dr Saleem Wani and Professor Baldev Singh, who has functioned as Professor and Head of the Department for over two decades but has been now designated as a Professor of General Surgery, on recommendations of a committee constituted under court orders, allegedly to pave way for Dr Wani’s headship.