Staff Reporter

National Ophthalmic Association protest

NEW DELHI: Members of the National Ophthalmic Association organised a sit-in outside the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry at Nirman Bhavan here protesting against “apathetic attitude” of the National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) authorities towards their longstanding demands.

They demanded legalisation of their profession by formation of a council, restoration of the original duty chart of 1978, uniform professional nomenclature and designation for in-service cadre and representation in different committees of the NPCB. Office-bearers of the various State units of NOA were present. Stating that most of their demands did not have any financial implications, NOA general secretary Rajbir Singh Berwal emphasised the need for creation of a Vision Council of India to ensure registration of qualified ophthalmic personnel for legal practice in optometry.

“With the launching of NPCB in 1976, the Central Government had created this cadre of eye care professionals and assigned it a host of duties including treatment of patients for eye aliments. But the duty chart was subsequently withdrawn to extend benefit to a certain section. It is a principle cause of unrest among the cadre,” said Mr. Berwal. Accusing the authorities of employing “divide and rule” tactics, Mr. Berwal sought uniform professional nomenclature and designation for in-service cadre. “In view of the supervisory nature of work the professional nomenclature of the cadre should be optometrist and the in-service cadre should be re-designated as ophthalmic officer,” he said.