By Arun Pratap Singh
Dehradun, 1 Apr: Taking cognisance of the news that had gone viral since yesterday of alleged misbehaviour with a faculty member of Doon Medical College and her transfer to Almora Medical College by the Secretary, Health, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami today ordered cancellation of the transfer. He also ordered a high-level inquiry into the allegations of misbehaviour with her by a family member of the Secretary, Health, Dr Pankaj Pandey.
The CM today directed Chief Secretary Dr SS Sandhu to order a high-level inquiry into the allegations. On the directions of the CM, Chief Secretary Sandhu has asked Additional Chief Secretary Manisha Panwar to conduct the inquiry and also to submit a report soon in this regard.
It may be recalled that, yesterday, Dr Nidhi Uniyal, who is Assistant Professor in Doon Medical College, was transferred to Almora Medical College by Secretary Dr Pankaj Pandey. Following this, Dr Uniyal, instead of accepting the transfer orders, submitted her resignation alleging misbehaviour by Dr Pankaj Pandey’s wife. In her resignation letter, addressed to the Secretary, Health, Dr Uniyal said that she had been asked by the Medical College Administration to visit the residence of Secretary Dr Pandey when she was in the OPD and attending to patients. She consequently had to leave her OPD and visited the residence of the senior IAS officer to examine his wife. However, as she had forgotten the BP Machine in her car, there was some delay in measuring the BP of the Secretary’s wife. The patient allegedly used unpleasant language to which Dr Uniyal objected.
Upon her return to the Hospital, she was asked to apologise to the Secretary’s wife. In the belief that she was not at fault, she refused to tender an apology. Following this, she received the transfer order. In her letter, she said that she was harassed and was therefore resigning.
However, within a short time, the news went viral, first, amongst the faculty members of Doon Medical College and then on social media. Late in the evening, Health Minister Dr Dhan Singh Rawat, in his interaction with the media, admitted that he had come to know of the incident and would take appropriate action the next day in this regard.
This morning, the CM took cognisance of the matter and ordered cancellation of the transfer order and also ordered a high-level inquiry. However, till the time inquiry is conducted, Dr Pankaj Pandey continues to remain in charge of the Health Department. It may be recalled that it is not the first time that Dr Pandey has been in news for the wrong reasons. His name had surfaced in the so called NHAI Scam of 2015-16 and, in the course of an inquiry, he had also been suspended in 2018 for a while. However, he was soon reinstated and given charge of important departments.
It may be further recalled that, in Uttarakhand, in the general public opinion, the bureaucracy controls the politicians and not the vice-versa. There have been several cases of high handed behaviour and even alleged cases of corruption but never has any IAS officer been punished for any crime.