Will seek clarification on Pradhan’s decisions: NIMHANS director

Updated - July 31, 2015 11:45 pm IST

Published - July 31, 2015 11:44 pm IST - BENGALURU

G.S. Umamaheshwara Rao, who took charge as in-charge director of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) on Friday indicated that he may write to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MHFW) seeking clarification on the recent decisions taken by his predecessor.

With the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare yet to appoint a full-time director, Dr. Rao, a senior professor in the Department of Neuroanaesthesia, has been appointed as the interim director as his predecessor N. Pradhan, who was also an in-charge director, retired on Friday.

Dr. Rao, who has been associated with NIMHANS since 1983, in a brief chat with The Hindu said he might seek clarification from the ministry on the controversies that dogged the institute in the past few weeks.

“My priority is to ensure that the day-to-day functioning of the hospital goes on smoothly. I did not want to become the director... I am taking charge because there isn’t anyone [someone more senior] else,” he said, adding that he wanted to avoid making any major decisions.

Dr. Pradhan’s controversial monthlong tenure as in-charge director saw the termination of consultants, who were retired faculty members, relieving Registrar V. Ravi of his post, and changing three heads of the department.

After asking the former Director P. Satish Chandra not to continue as faculty member, Dr. Pradhan later retracted following protest by other faculty members.

A few more months

The appointment of a full-time director to NIMHANS is likely to take a few more months since the process is long, an official in the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare in Delhi told The Hindu. Applications for the permanent director’s post have come in from both NIMHANS and outside and they are being scrutinised, an official said, without revealing the names or number of applicants.

A letter signed by Oma Nand, Deputy Secretary, MHFW, states that G.S. Umamaheshwara Rao was appointed to look after the functions of Director, NIMHANS, as the senior-most professor among the medical faculty. It also said he would be in-charge till the “appointment of a regular director, or till further orders, whichever is earlier”.

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