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Wednesday, August 11, 2010
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Promotion list stirs doctors' commotion

Flawed ministry list includes dead, non-serving, non-cadre officials

The health ministry has prepared a "gradation list" to ensure seniority-wise promotion of cadre doctors but it also includes non-cadre doctors and those who have never served the government.

The "gradation list" published on May 11 includes names of 14,054 doctors serving the government. The Daily Star has found serious anomalies in it after interviewing a number of doctors and reviewing the list.

Though the objective of preparing this periodical list was to ensure "controversy-free" promotion, it has become a cause of deep resentment among the cadre.

The list was supposed to exclusively incorporate names of doctors who joined the cadre between 1974 and 2007 and are still on service. But the doctors who are serving at private or autonomous bodies or have gone abroad for long are also included.

The list shockingly includes names of persons who have died or gone into LPR (leave preparatory to retirement).

Doctors say their promotion is now at stake further due to this faulty gradation list. This uncertainty would also cost performance and service of the doctors, they observe.

Inclusion of 1,362 non-cadre doctors is another major cause of discontent as this has unpredictably pushed down seniority of many cadre officials.

For instance, serial of a senior cadre doctor falls behind more than a thousand officials on the "gradation list" due to inclusion of the non-cadre doctors.

SENIORITY DISREGARDED
Dr Shakil Ahmed, assistant professor of Suhrawardi Medical College, was recruited through the 11th BCS (Bangladesh Civil Service) examination and was 12th on the merit list. His position should be 6786, but due to inclusion of non-cadre doctors his serial number goes behind 169 officials at 6955.

Serial numbers of many of the 1,250 doctors who joined the service through the 24th BSC have gone behind those of the 25th BCS.

"My serial number on the gradation list is 12144, whereas one Shahriar Arafat, who joined through the 25th BCS, is ahead of me on the list. His serial number is 10104," said Dr Shamsuddin Ahmed, assistant registrar, department of ENT, Dhaka Medical College Hospital.

The cadre service holders say "gradation list" for the cadre and non-cadre doctors should be different as the recruitment rules and process for the BCS (Health) are totally different from that for non-cadre doctors.

"According to the Ad hoc Regularization Rule, 1994, seniority of the employees will be counted from the date of their regularisation. Similarly, their serials will be placed after the regular employees," said Dr Nazmul Islam, member secretary of BCS (Health) Cadre Association.

But the government authorities say the Ad hoc regulation, 1994 became null and void in 2005 by an order of the president.

DOCTORS ABROAD
Dr Sadik Ahmed, whose serial is 6797 on the "gradation list", and Dr Abu Hasan Mohammad Abdullah, whose serial is 6780, have been abroad for more than 12 years leaving the service, but both are also enlisted.

Like them, at least 20 doctors are working abroad and are still on the list.

DEAD OFFICIALS
Dr Rafiuddin (serial 7081) died a few years ago. But his name appears on the list. Names of at least five doctors who have died have also been included.

LISTED WITHOUT JOINING
Dr Nirmalendu Bikash Bhoumik (serial 6805) never joined the civil service and has been working at Birdem Hospital since 1990. Still his name is put on the "gradation list".

Dr Nirmalendu told this correspondent that he was selected through the BCS, but he preferred working at Birdem Hospital to joining civil service.

"I don't know how my name was included in the gradation list. In fact, I didn't know anything about that before you mentioned it," he said.

Asked why the doctors who have gone abroad or joined private or autonomous services are included, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) authorities said those doctors were asked in 2009 through advertisement to inform their status. As they did not inform anything, their names are still on the list, the officials say.

"It is not possible for us to know whether they have left civil service until they inform us," said Dr Faruque Ahmed Khan, deputy project manager of Human Resources Management of DHGS.

AD HOC DOCTORS
More than 1,300 doctors, who were appointed on ad hoc basis, not through the BCS exam, are included in the list.

While talking to The Daily Star Dr Anwar Hossain Hawlader, assistant professor of the department of anaesthesia, Sir Salimullah Medical College, said he is one of the 1,362 doctors who were recruited on ad hoc basis between 1982 and 1986.

"Following an SRO in 1994 those doctors were immediately regularised against assistant surgeon posts in 1996. Later by dint of presidential order a gazette notification was issued in 2005 and then by the recommendation of the Public Service Commission I along with 475 others were regularised permanently. So there is nothing wrong with this gradation list," said Dr Hawlader.

The DGHS high-ups said there is only one fault on the list and the seniority list is termed as the gradation list here.

According to the cadrement rule of 1981, doctors who have passed the BSC or have been regularised through Public Service Commission are members of health cadre. That is why the 1,362 doctors who were regularised through PSC between 1981 and 1986 are cadre doctors and were rightly enlisted, they said.

The seniority list was prepared to learn about the number of officers in the health service, grade-wise distribution of officers, their promotion and to select subject-wise officers.

The first gradation list of the health service was approved in 1974 but was not finalised. In 1994, a gradation list was prepared but 80 percent information was wrong there. So steps were taken in 2008 to prepare another list but it was cancelled for the cadre and non-cadre discords.

The BCS (Health) Cadre Association demanded cancellation of the "gradation list" prepared on May 11 this year and submitted a letter to the health secretary on June 27.

The health ministry on July 5 issued a gazette notification to formulate a committee headed by Additional Health Secretary Amir Hossain to investigate the issues. But the committee is yet to start working.

Committee member Senior Assistant Secretary Humayun Kabir told The Daily Star that as two members from the establishment and finance ministries have not yet been nominated, the committee could not start working.

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