Patiala: The Department of Medical Education and Research’s(DMER), reluctance to pay for the internet facility installed by the Department of Prisons, at Government Medical College, Patiala in November 2015 at the behest of Punjab and Haryana High Court is likely to see a disconnection of the connection happening. The Department owes Rs. 53,000 to the Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) for the last three years. However, the DMER has saved Rs. 7 lakh from April 2016 to March 2017, that would otherwise have been paid as travelling and daily announce to doctors appearing as medical (expert) witnesses for court hearings.
The indecision to pay and sending the bills to the department of prisons has arisen as the installation was done by the Prison Department. Video conferencing for court evidence was implemented to save state expenditure in the form of TA/DA and time waisted by doctors travelling to and from, which otherwise can be used in treating patients.
Contempt of court may soon be imposed on the DMER and the department of Prisons, incase the facility gets disconnected. Colleges like GMC Amritsar,and GGS Medical College Faridkot have yet to install the facility, despite three years having elapsed since the High Court order.
General Secretary, Punjab State Medical and Dental Teachers Association, Dr DS Bhullar revealed that the facility which began as a single video conferencing room in the district courts has spread out to reach all courts in a district. Sadly though, GMC Patiala happens to be the only one on the point of closure, due to non payment of dues.
Medical doctors in medical colleges and even some private hospitals are seen giving evidence, on a daily basis, through video conferencing. Some of them cover distances like Fazilka, Barnala, Muktsar, Budhlada, Bathinda, and Gurdaspur in Punjab and Gurgaon and Karnal and other courts in Haryana and other states.
Director DMER, Dr Sujata Sharma expressed ignorance on the issue, however, added now that the matter was in her notice, she would try and resolve it, at the earliest, reports Tribune.
Patiala Jail Superintendent, SS Boparai said he was clueless on the issue, since he had joined the department lately. He also promised to look into the matter- as priority.