‘Controversy over Ajgaonkar’s brother benefitting from higher retirement age unnecessary’
While needle of suspicion is on the state government for extending the service of doctors from 60 to 62 years, a senior source on Tuesday dismissed the controversy as “unnecessary” by pointing out that Dr Shrikant, brother of Deputy Chief Minister Manohar ‘Babu’ Ajgaonkar, became the first beneficiary of a central government ruling that increased the retirement age of doctors working in the health sector by two years.
“The central ruling in 2017 was for doctors working under ESIC hospitals. It was not implemented in Goa so far. But post implementation on Sunday, April 7, it made Dr Shrikant eligible for two more years of service,” said the source.
According to the source, the implementation of the central rule in the state was delayed due to unknown reasons.
“The timing of the state notification with the retirement date of Dr Shrikant is a coincidence and nothing must be read into it,” claimed the senior source.
He added that doctors in the state government’s health services already have retirement age of 62 years and only ESI hospital had a lower retirement age which needed to be “brought in line.”
The central ruling is because of the shortage of experienced doctors in government hospitals.
Dr Shrikant, the medical officer at ESI hospital, Margao was due for retirement soon. Eyebrows were raised after the notification extending the retirement age that came during the code of conduct period and just ahead of his retirement. The state government employees association has opposed the higher retirement age. However the source claimed that the notification was in the pipeline and waiting to be announced. It would benefit all doctors working in government institutions.
The Margao ESIS hospital is the only ESIC hospital in the state. The ESIC has a tie-up with three local hospitals Healthway, Vision Hospital and Sawaikar Nursing Home, Ponda, for treatment to ESI beneficiaries. Further the ESIC also has super-speciality tie-up with Victor Hospital, Margao and Kyle Hospital, Belgaum, for super-speciality treatment to Goan patients.
In addition, there are 12 ESIC dispensaries in industrial estates including a dispensary in Panaji.
According to the senior source, with services of experienced doctors in high demand, an extended retirement age is necessary.