Coronavirus-news May 7, 2020
Chandigarh medical institute PIGMER ignores exemptions granted to disabled employees
Just days after the director of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh was forced to withdraw a controversial order that was discriminatory towards disabled employees, comes news of another top medical institute in India found practising similar behaviour. This time it is the prestigious Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Chandigarh.
First the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh. Now another prestigious medical institute, Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PIGMER), Chandigarh, has been found violating the exemptions granted to disabled employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is what an order issued by the Administrative Officer at PIGMER, Chandigarh to all heads of departments states:
‘It has been decided by the competent Authority that the HODs/Controlling Departments may deploy the staff as per requirement and issue appropriate roster taking into account the workload and skill-set.
PIGMER ignores guidelines regarding disabled employees
Ironically the subject matter of the letter is “Exemption of Employees with Disabilities from duty roster due to Covid -19”
The order makes no reference to the guidelines issued by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), and the Department of Personnel Training (DoPT) exempting disabled employees from emergency duty.
On 27 March, the DoPT issued an order that all ministries and departments, while drawing up a roster of staff required to attend essential services within their respective domains, should keep in mind that persons with disabilities are exempted.
Intervention of DEPwD sought
The National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled (NPRD) has written to the DEPwD Director KVS Rao seeking his urgent intervention.
We are informed that disabled employees working at the PGIMER have not been exempted from emergency duties. The May 4, 2020 order not only fails to recognise this exemption, but has left it to the discretion of the HODs/Controlling departments..This needless to point out is a gross violation of the orders issued by both your department as well as the DoPT. – Muralidharan Vishwanath, General Secretary, National Platform for the Rights of the Disabled
This comes just days after the DEPwD’s intervention in the AIIMS Rishikesh matter. The director of the institute, Prof Ravi Kant, had issued an order that any employee found unable to perform his/her duty due to disability would be “compulsorily retired”. It took sustained and persistent advocacy by disability rights activists before he issued a clarificatory order. A total withdrawal of the original order is still wanting.
Many hospitals ignore exemptions granted to disabled employees
The fact is that violations of the DEPwD and DoPT orders are being reported from any top institutes and hospitals. Healthcare providers with disabilities across many states say they are being pushed into service.
Dr D* who is with a top Ranchi hospital, spoke to NewzHook, on the condition that her name would not be revealed. “I am a wheelchair user and need an attendant at at all times. I have asked my department for support but they have ignored my requests. I was forced to take leave because of my condition and since then there’s been a lot of hostility and resentment from my seniors”.
This points to the need for greater intervention on the part of the Centre. The NPRD has asked that a letter be sent to all concerned departments about the exemptions granted to disabled employees.
- Ministry intervention sought in AIIMS Rishikesh director’s discriminatory order towards disabled people
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