PATNA: Around 450 doctors, who have just completed their postgraduate courses under an all-India quota in Bihar, have been for months awaiting the health department’s notification for their posting as per their three-year mandatory service bond.
The delay has forced at least 29 of them to opt for paying the ₹25 lakh penalty in lieu of opting out of the mandatory service.
“We would have lost 10 months by the time the government notifies our posting and the doctors join their respective place of posting. To serve another three years in Bihar after the 10-month wait is too long a period. Moreover, we will have communication problems in rural Bihar. As such, I am inclined to opt-out of my post-PG service bond by paying up the penalty amount and return to my home state of Kerala,” said Bhukya Shankar, who has completed his MD from Patna’s Nalanda Medical College Hospital.
Shijimol G, who is from Warangal in Telangana, echoed Shankar. “We are not responsible for the delay. So, why should we be penalised for it by expecting us to stay for another three years in Bihar? The government should adjust the period of delay beyond May last year against our post-PG service bond.”
Pandu Azmeera, another doctor, said they will wait for a few more days and then decide if they should move court seeking direction for the state government to adjust the delay. “Our batch mates have already given a representation to the Bihar health department to adjust the delay. If the government does not concede to our request, we may move the court. For the time being, we will wait and watch what action the state health department takes,” said Azmeera.
Officials in charge of transfers and posting of government doctors refused to comment.
The doctors have not been getting their full stipend since last August after completing their PG courses, which were extended by three months due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Our postings were supposed to have been notified last week as per the assurance given to us by officers in the health department when I last met them on February 10. Unless the government notifies our posting, our careers will not move ahead,” said Harendra Kumar, a former president of the Junior Doctors’ Association, who has completed his master’s in surgery. Kumar, who is among the 450 doctors, said they cannot even practice.