Business Standard, March 20, 2015
Cutting across party lines, members of both the ruling and the opposition parties in Odisha Assembly today expressed concern over acute shortage of doctors and teachers in government-run institutes in the state, particularly in the backward KBK region.
The issue was raised both during the Question Hour and during an adjournment motion debate.
Citing figures, assembly members pointed out that 4,343 doctors were appointed as against 4,843 approved posts of doctors in the state and of the total strength many remain absent from their place of posting.
Though provisions are being made to provide doctors in far flung areas of the state, the appointed health professionals are unwilling to travel to the hinterlands, they alleged.
"The government has been facing problems as doctors are reluctant to work in rural and remote areas," Health minister Atanu S Nayak said adding that the government has appointed 400 ad hoc doctors in these areas.
Further, the health minister informed the Assembly that steps are being taken to open five new medical colleges in the state.
The opposition members claimed that a large number of teaching posts were lying vacant in different state-run colleges, aided colleges and universities and alleging that the government has been specially ignorant to the "drought" of teachers in the Kalahandi-Bolangit-Koraput (KBK) region.
"While 42.58 per cent of teachers' posts remained vacant in government colleges, 35.41 per cent of teaching posts in universities were unfilled and the ratio of such vacancy in aided colleges stood at 15.1 per cent," said Congress member Chiranjib Biswal.
Biswal said against the sanctioned 54 posts of teachers in Jeypore college in Koraput district, the number of vacancies was 43. Similarly of the 39 sanctioned posts, 33 posts remained vacant in Koraput college. In Bhawanipatna College in Kalahandi, the number of vacancies is 45 as against the sanctioned 57 posts.
"Is it not a drought of teachers?," Biswal asked.
Congress chief whip Taraprasad Bahinipati demanded that the government should stop appointment of contractual teachers in colleges and varsities as the practice affects education.
In reply, higher education minister Pradip Panigrahi said the government has taken steps to appoint teachers in colleges even as he blamed the previous Congress government's agreement with the DFID saying the state could not make appointments after retirement of teachers in government colleges.
However, the minister said all steps would soon be taken to fill the vacant posts of teachers.