No Scrutiny Of Service Record To Select Director SKIMS

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Srinagar, June 2:  Irrespective of the service record, which includes cases of misconduct or corruption registered against some of them, the state government has decided to interview all the applicants who have applied for the post of Director, Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS) Soura here.
The government decision to interview all the candidates for the coveted position which fell vacant on Thursday with the superannuation of Dr Showkat Zargar,  has raised eyebrows over its claims of “integrity and honesty” in the selection for the head of this super-specialty hospital, already marred by mismanagement and corruption. The eleventh hour relaxation in age and clause on Powerpoint presentation has only furthered the “suspicion”.
As per a notification issued by the Health and Medical Education Department vide No ME/NG/71/2016/SKIMS dated May 30, 2016, a copy of which lies with Kashmir Observer, the government has called all the applicants for “interaction” on June 11 and 12.
“24 applications have been received from doctors… It is to inform all the concerned applicants that interaction before the Selection Committee for the post of Director SKIMS shall be held at Banquet Hall MA Road Srinagar,” reads the notification.
The applicants who have been invited for interviews include Dr Khursheed Alam Wani at Serial No 1 to be followed by Dr Altaf Rehman Kirmani, Prof Imtiyaz Ahmad Naqash, Prof Muhammad Maqbool Lone, Dr Bashir Ahmad Laway, Prof Sarman Singh, Dr Showkat Ali Mufti, Prof Javed Chowdhary, Dr Sameer Hassan Naqash, Dr Parvaiz Ahmed Koul, Dr Syed Wajid Ali, Dr Sheikh Mushtaq Ahmed, Dr Dalip Kumar Kakru, Dr Abdul Majid Ganai, Dr Syed Amin Tabish and  Dr Abdul Rashid Baddoo, respectively, who will be interviewed on June 11.
On the next day, those who will be interviewed include Dr AG Ahangar, Dr Mushtaq Ahmed Wani, Dr Gul Javaid, Dr Adil Hafeez Wani, Dr Sheikh Aejaz Aziz, Dr Altaf Umar Ramzan, Dr Ghulam Nabi Yattoo and Dr Omar Javed Shah.
Observers said calling all the applicants for the interview clearly suggests that their cases have not been scrutinized. “Some of the applicants, including those from SKIMS itself, figuring in the list, have cases registered against them on charges like corruption and private practice, which is a criminal offence… How can the government appoint a person with tainted service record as Director of this prestigious institution?” asked a group of senior medicos, keenly monitoring the developments.
Another clause, which has equally raised curiosity and suspicion alike, is about a computer-aided presentation.  “Further, they shall be required to make brief presentation before the Selection Committee on their vision about the institution (SKIMS) and the way to take it forward. It should not be more than 3-5 slides Powerpoint Presentation,” reads the notification signed by the Additional Secretary, Health and Medical Education department.
Senior medicos termed the clause as vague. “Ideally any presentation starts with welcome slide depicting title of the presentation and ends with ‘Thank You’ slide…  So if two slides are traditionally consumed in introduction and vote of thanks, what will the remaining third slide alone do?” asked a delegation of aspirants adding “this is something shady.”
Kashmir’s medical fraternity has already smelt a rat in the selection process.  A few days back, President Doctors Association Kashmir, Dr Nisar ul Hassan issued a formal handout “suspecting malicious intent in increasing the upper-age-limit.” The DAK president said the age relaxation for the post was an attempt to pave way for blue-eyed candidates.
The applications for the post of Director SKIMS were invited vide advertisement notification No ME/NG/71/2016/SKIMS dated April 5, 2016 wherein it was mentioned that the upper-age-limit shall not exceed 60 years as on January 1, 2016 and this age-limit shall not be subject to any relaxation and the last date for receipt of applications was April 29, 2016.
On April 28, another notification extended the last date for receipt of applications to May 16, whereas the very next day, on May 29, another order extended the upper-age-limit to 62 years.
Observers opine that the “selection should be transparent if the government really wants to end years of mismanagement at this sole super-specialty hospital where corruption and favoritism have become rule of the day.”
“Let the merit speak. Let the applicant whose service tenure particularly research work has benefitted the homeland community be given preference over those whose contrition remained restricted to paperwork for international journals,” said a member for the SKIMS Governing Body.
While Chief Minister, Mehboba Mufti, who is also the Chairman of the SKIMS Governing Body will have the last word on the selection, one of her Advisors is understood to play a crucial role in the process.
However his previous role in selection of head of an academic institution has been debatable when he selected the candidate alleged backed by a religious forum. The appointment was termed as “community specific rehabilitation.”

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