889 health posts vacant; officials saddled with additional charge

A whopping 889 posts are vacant in the state health department, in the public health division and medical colleges and hospitals unit, an RTI query by The Indian Express has revealed.

This has saddled several officers with additional charge of even key posts, with an officer often holding more than one additional charge at times, as the case of Dr Archana Patil, who holds additional charge of more than one post including the important position of Director of Health.

A regular Director of Health Services has not been appointed for more than three years. Prior to Dr Patil, at least three health officers, Dr D S Dakhure, Dr Suresh Gupta and Dr G S Chinde, had been given additional charge of the post within a span of a year. The posts of three additional directors, seven joint directors and 17 deputy directors have yet to be filled.

Several Pune officials have been given Additional Director post as an extra responsibility. One of them is VD Khanande, the Joint Director of the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP) holding Additional Director, Family Welfare as additional charge. Prior to him, Dr Uddhav Gawhande held the additional charge.

Highly placed sources here pointed out that the vexatious situation had been continuing for more than a year now owing to delay in compiling a seniority list.

The stay on recruitment to fill certain health posts through the Maharashtra Public Service Commission (MPSC) following objections in court regarding recruitment criteria has also come in the way of filling up the posts.

In Pune Circle, of the 637 posts sanctioned for the Maharashtra medical service group-A, 74 are vacant and in Mumbai Circle of the 854 sanctioned posts, 113 have yet to be filled.

There are 26 Assistant Director (Leprosy) posts and three Assistant Director (malaria) posts vacant, according to the RTI reply. As may as 14 district level TB officers and 14 district maternal and child welfare officers have yet to be recruited.

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