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Arunachal Ayush institute hit by staff shortage

North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine, Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh.

North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine, Pasighat, Arunachal Pradesh.  

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Local residents who donated land in the hope of getting jobs are disappointed

More than a decade after it was approved, India’s easternmost national institute under the Ministry of AYUSH is struggling to operate with a skeletal staff. The institute is also on a collision course with local residents who donated 40 acres of land for it in the hope of getting jobs.

11 institutes

The North Eastern Institute of Folk Medicine (NEIFM) in Pasighat, the headquarters of Arunachal Pradesh’s East Siang district, is one of 11 national institutes under the Ministry that oversees the development of Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH) systems of healthcare.

The others include the National Institute of Siddha in Chennai, the National Institute of Unani Medicine in Bengaluru and the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga in Delhi.

While the Centre had approved the establishment of the NEIFM in 2008, it took almost a decade for the institute to be set up. Separately, the process of filling up 22 sanctioned posts began in 2016, but only four — a medical officer, zoologist, administrative officer and an accounts officer — were appointed two years later.

Two posts, including that of the Director, were filled on deputation from State government departments.

The absence of the requisite number of specialists has restricted NEIFM to an outpatient section. The institute’s 50-bed hospital has been unable to admit patients, while its seven laboratories — equipped with the latest gadgets — have been lying unused.

These include the phytochemical, pharmacology, Ayurveda research, life science, herbarium and new drugs, and folk medicine laboratories.

Director on deputation

NEIFM Director Pekyom Ringu, an Indian Forest Service officer on deputation, declined to comment on “internal matters” but acknowledged that the institute was under pressure from former landowners.

“We were guaranteed third- and fourth-grade jobs for giving up our land,” said a former landowner, speaking on condition of anonymity. “But officials of the institute are now telling us that the Ministry has decided to halve the existing 44-45 contractual workers.”

The NEIFM employees too have been awaiting residential quarters that were to have been built before the appointments were made. The Ministry has now reportedly said that the quarters would be provided only when all the posts are filled up.

“But the process of interviewing candidates has been postponed,” said a person connected to the institute, declining to be identified. “Moreover, officials of the Ministry are reluctant to come here for the interviews; candidates are required to go to Delhi without the possibility of reimbursement of their expenditure,” the institute insider added.

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Printable version | Dec 7, 2019 9:54:40 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/arunachal-ayush-institute-hit-by-staff-shortage/article29613038.ece

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