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NHM contractual employees end strike after LG announces extension of their contract

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Vacancies being identified; Covid warriors to be given weightage in recruitment: LG

Jammu/Srinagar: Contractual National Health Mission (NHM) employees in Jammu and Kashmir on Sunday called off their protest after Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha met them here and announced extending their contract by three months.

Over 1,500 employees were demonstrating for the last four days against termination of their contracts.

The LG visited the Government Medical College (GMC) here and heard their grievances. The NHM workers sought continuation of their services on the plea that they have done a lot of hard work during the COVID-19 crisis, officials said.

“On my arrival in Jammu on Saturday, we took two important decisions (with regard to NHM contractual employees)…they will be given three months extension and they will also be given weightage in the recruitment process for various posts in the health department,” Sinha told reporters.

One of the NHM employees, who was on a hunger strike, broke it after being offered juice by the LG.

Posts will be advertised soon to fill up different vacancies in the Health department, Sinha said.

The LG said the NHM employees have done hard work during the pandemic and they deserve to be given preference and continue to serve the society.

“The visit of the LG means a lot for us and we are thankful to him. We have ended our strike,” a spokesperson of the NHM employees said.

Meanwhile, the LG during the meeting at Raj Bhawan, Srinagar, told the senior officials that vacant nursing staff position in the UT should be identified as soon as possible and recruitment process should be initiated to benefit the health workers.

“Our health workers worked tirelessly and they deserve high praise,” LG said.

The nursing staff at Jammu expressed gratitude to the Lt Governor for visiting them and assuring the extension of their contract by three months. Dr. Shashi Sudhan Sharma, Principal & Dean GMC Jammu besides Medical Superintendent GMC were present.

Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Dr. Mushtaq Ahmad Rather, Director Health Services Kashmir; Choudhary Mohammad Yasin, Mission Director NHM were present in the meeting at Srinagar, an official press release said.

In Jammu, Principal GMC Shashi Sudan said the contractual employees were engaged for three to six months and accordingly disengaged after completion of their contract period.

“The government is going to fill up vacancies of paramedics through the service selection board and we are hopeful that many of them will get permanent jobs after qualifying the examination,” she said.

The protesters had alleged that the government was exercising a “use and throw” policy with NHM employees who had joined service at the GMC at the peak of the first wave of COVID-19 last year when no one wanted to come out of their homes.

“We were promised that if we served in the best way during the COVID-19 period, we will be regularised in the services. But instead of regularisation, they threw us out after using us during the worst COVID-19 period,” one of the protesters had said.

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