Tuesday, August 21, 2018
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Strike hits work at de-addiction centre
Members of the Drug De-addiction-cum-Rehabilitation Employees Union protest at the drug rehabilitation centre in Industrial Growth Centre, Bathinda, on Monday. Tribune photo

Strike hits work at de-addiction centre

Contractual employees of drug de-addiction and OOAT centres demand regularisation of jobs21 Aug 2018 | 12:31 AM

BATHINDA: Contractual employees of the drug de-addiction centre and OOAT (Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment) centre staged a protest over regularisation of jobs.

[ + read story ]

Sumeer Singh

Tribune News Service

Bathinda, August 20

Contractual employees of the drug de-addiction centre and OOAT (Outpatient Opioid Assisted Treatment) centre staged a protest over regularisation of jobs.

As the OPD (outpatient department) services remained suspended at these centres, patients (drug addicts) undergoing treatment had to return without medical check-up or medicines.

The protesters gathered at the drug rehabilitation centre in Industrial Growth Centre and raised slogans against the state Health Department and state government.

The situation turned more serious when hundreds of patients visiting the OOAT centre to take daily medication (opioid addicts are administered medicines everyday in the presence of a doctor at these centres) were asked by the staff members to return without medicines, who in turn started raising slogans against the government.

Apart from the de-addiction centre at the Civil Hospital, medical services at three OOAT centres at Talwandi Sabo, Rampura Phul and the drug rehabilitation centre in Industrial Growth Centre were also hit.

Hundreds of patients were seen returning from the drug de-addiction centre without getting medicines.

Sunil Kumar, president, Drug De-addiction-cum-Rehabilitation Employees Union, said, “We have given a state-wide call for protest against the government for not regularising the jobs of contractual employees, who have been rendering services for more than four years. Suspension of services at the OOAT centres was a reply to the government’s indifferent approach to our genuine demands. Patients visiting from far-off villages were disappointed and some of them called at the helpline number while others raised slogans against the government.”

Harmeet Singh, a drug addict from Talwandi Sabo, said, “It seems that the government is not serious about rooting out the drug menace because if it cannot take care of its employees, how do we expect it to take care or provide medical care to the people? I kept waiting at the OPD till late afternoon but nobody came to examine or provide medicine to me.”

There are 40 contractual employees (outsourced staff and district de-addiction and rehabilitation society employees), including managers, counsellors, staff nurses (male), ward attendants and pharmacists who have been rendering services at the drug de-addiction and rehabilitation centres for the past four years and are awaiting regularisation of their jobs.

Kumar added, “We started the services after meeting the eligibility criteria and through proper selection process. Leave aside regularisation of jobs, we have not been given any salary hike, allowance or increment. All we have been getting is annual extension on our contract period. Currently, a ward attendant is getting Rs 8,000, staff nurse Rs 15,000 and counsellor is getting Rs 20,000 monthly salary.”

Civil Surgeon Hari Narain Singh said, “The staff of the OOAT centres and drug de-addiction centre were on strike on Monday due to which the services remained suspended. We have intimated the Deputy Commissioner and it is Secretary, Health, who would take the final call.”

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