Health Department staff affiliated to the NGO Association began an indefinite relay hunger strike outside the civil station on Thursday, accusing the District Medical Officer of harassing employees through abrupt transfers to places far away from their homes.
N.P. Balakrishnan, district president, NGO Association, said in a press release that employees belonging to the Scheduled Castes, differently-abled population, and chronically ill people were being transferred without following norms.
A differently-abled employee, who also belonged to the Scheduled Castes, working at the Community Health Centre, Orkkatteri, was transferred to the Government Mental Health Centre, Kuthiravattam in this January, just five months after he joined there. His father had been paralysed after a stroke and he was the only son.
Another woman employee, who is 60% hearing impaired, was transferred to the mental health centre before she completed the minimum of three years at her previous work station. A senior leader of the association alleged that the DMO was not willing to consider the pleas of the staff even after the District Collector directed her to do so.
The official was evading the queries of the association functionaries though she too had promised to issue orders in their favour. Mr. Balakrishnan claimed that the employees, especially those who were differently abled, were finding it difficult to work after travelling for long from their homes. M.K. Raghavan, MP, inaugurated the protest.
Meanwhile, V. Jayashree, DMO, told The Hindu that the allegations seemed to be politically motivated.
The above-mentioned staff were transferred as they were found to be good at their work and would boost the efficiency of the hospitals where they had been posted.