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Strike by nurses for regular jobs hits healthcare in state

Healthcare services were partially affected in government hospitals, mainly in the three government-run medical colleges, on Tuesday with contractual nursing staff across the state going on mass leave. They congregated in Bhubaneswar and took out a protest rally demanding regular appointment.

Sources said routine indoor services were affected in all three medical colleges though they managed to render emergency services. Capital Hospital in the state capital, which has 70 contractual nurses, deployed nursing supervisors and auxiliary nurse midwives (ANMs) to face the nurses’ shortage. “The dozen-odd supervisory staff also cooperated by discharging nursing duty and working overtime. While some nurses from Unit IV hospital were deployed in Capital Hospital, ANMs were pulled from field duty and were positioned in the Capital Hospital,” said chief medical officer Sudarshan Das.

Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Post-Graduate Institute of Paediatrics, better known as Sishu Bhawan, in Cuttack was the worst affected. “Nobody is around even to change drips of my son,” said a woman in Sishu Bhawan. Sishu Bhawan authorities conceded that the strike had a great impact on child care. “We had a bad time managing the nursing care of children due to the strike of contractual staff,” said Dr Hiranya Mohanty, superintendent of Sishu Bhawan, which has around 72 contractual nurses.

SCB Medical College and Hospital authorities said the strike had a minimal impact on their services though. “We had made alternative arrangement to deal with the situation. Nursing and pharmacy students studying at SCB were roped in,” said Dr B N Moharana, emergency officer of  SCB hospital, where a substantial 430 nursing staff are contractual, compared to just 260 regular nurses.

VSS Medical College and Hospital, Burla, and MKCG Medical College, Berhampur, where around 250 nurses each are contractual and 100 each are regular staff, pulled all strings to manage the day. “Since it was just for a day, we managed by re-distributing regular staff. Emergency services were not affected,” said VSS principal Dr Santosh Kumar Behera.

Over 100 nurses from Burla attended the Bhubaneswar rally, said Lalita Nikhandia, a member of  All Odisha Contractual Nurses Association (AOCNA). The agitating nurses took out a rally from near Ram Mandir to Lower PMG in Bhubaneswar. “Our demands have been pending before the government for years, but nothing has been done,” said AOCNA general secretary Jayanti Sahoo. “Even though we don’t want patients to suffer because of the strike, we had no option but to take recourse to this step,” she said.

AOCNA president Sibani Das said the government must abolish the contractual appointment of nurses and regularize those engaged on contract. “Around 3,000 posts of nurses are lying vacant though the Union government is giving aid to recruit nurses on the ratio of one for four patients,” she pointed out. Around 2,000 nurses are working on contract against a regular nursing staff of less than 1,000 in the state. The contractual nurses employed under various schemes get a monthly salary of Rs 5,200 to Rs 9,300.

Road accident claims three lives in Sambalpur

Three youths in the age group of 22-28 years were killed when the motorbike in which they were travelling in dashed against a standing truck at Rampela toll gate near here, the police said today.

The deceased were identified as Rajesh Patel, Pankaj Nayak and Ramakanta Mahakud. While Patel and Nayak died on the spot last night, Mahakud died of his injuries at VSS Medical College and Hospital at Burla today, police said.

While police seized the truck, it recovered one pistol, a mouzer and a live bullet near the accident site.

“We are probing into the matter relating to fire arms,” the local police said adding that one of the deceased youth Patel had recently returned here after quitting the job of a security guard at New Delhi.

Upper caste people torch Dalit houses

At least 30 houses of Dalits were torched by the upper caste community at Lathor village in Balangir district on Sunday night, following a clash between the two groups over a petty issue.

The situation had escalated beyond control, with people so incensed that they even torched the fire-fighting vehicle that was brought in to extinguish the fire. No media persons were allowed to enter the village. The situation was brought under control only after the deployment of armed police late in the night.

The victims were given shelter in a local high school after they were rescued by police. A shop owner, who was injured seriously in the incident, was shifted to VSS Medical college hospital of Burla on Monday. Police arrested 42 villagers.Four platoons of police were deployed in the village apprehending further untoward incident.

Police sources said four youths from Dalit basti in the village, under Khaprakhol police station, had gone to one Laxmi cloth store on Sunday evening to purchase some cloth. The shop owner Jaydev Meher, along with his two sons Daya and Bharat, reportedly had an altercation with the boys over the purchase, in which one of the Dalit boys was assaulted. The Dalit community took it seriously and decided to teach a lesson to the shop owner for assaulting a boy of their community. “The situation went out of control when the Dalits came in a group and attacked Bharat Meher, who was seriously injured and admitted to Khaprakhol hospital,” said a senior resident of the village.

According to him, the upper caste people then convened a meeting and marched towards Dalit basti at night. They torched the houses of the basti and within a short span the entire basti was ablaze. “We did not get time to save our belongings. We started running towards jungles to save our lives,” said a resident of the basti.

“We have deployed armed policemen and arrested 42 villagers. Now the situation is under control,” said SDPO (Patnagarh) Laxmi Narayan Panda. According to him, about 193 victims were rescued by police, which includes 33 boys and 85 women, all of whom were given shelter in a local high school.

Markets and business establishments remained closed in the village on Monday.

Nine killed in road mishaps

New Year revelry turned tragic with nine persons, including six students, being killed in separate road accidents in the state.

The most fatal accident occurred in Balangir district in which six technical students died. Another injured student was battling for his life in a hospital. The accident took place near Kareldhua village in Saintala police station area when the victims’ speeding car dashed into a roadside tree after the driver lost control. Police said the deceased were going to a dhaba at Belgaon on the Bargarh-Bariguma highway to celebrate New Year’s Day.

According to eyewitnesses, three students were killed on the spot. Two others died in a Balangir hospital and the sixth succumbed to his injuries on way to VSS Medical College and Hospital in Burla.

The deceased were identified as Sudeb Singhdeo (18) of Ragbatipada, Subham Mahakud (21) of Rugudaipara, Sankar Pradhan (19) of Udaynargarpada, Amit Badua of Thikadarpara, Ajit Bag (21) of Santipara and Paritosh Singh (17) of Udaynagarpara of Balangir town. The injured student, Gangan Nayak of Rugudipara, was admitted in VSS Medical College and Hospital in a critical condition. They were all students of a technical institute in Balangir.

Meanwhile, two persons were killed and four injured in a head-on collision between two cars at Tangi near Khurda. Similarly, another person died in an accident in Nayagarh.

VSS Medical College

Veer Surendra Sai Medical College (VSSMC) is a premier Government run Medical College & Hospital in the Indian state of Orissa. Established in 1959, it is one of the oldest institutes of Orissa for imparting highly specialized medical education in both the undergraduate and postgraduate levels. VSS, as it is popularly known, is recognized, regulated and monitored by the Medical Council of India (MCI) in charge of the medical education in India. Recently in 2009, this institution celebrated its Golden Jubilee.


VSS Medical College is located in Burla, a small picturesque town on the banks of the mighty Mahanadi River in Sambalpur district of Western Orissa, only 15 km away from the City of Sambalpur. Burla is a laid back town in nature’s lap. Known as the Education City, it also hosts the Sambalpur University and Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology, which are only a kilometer away on either side of VSS Medical College.

Located in close vicinity of the Hirakud Dam, world’s longest earthen dam, Burla is famous for its scenic beauty, consisting of large splendid bodies of water with lush green hills forming the backdrop. During the monsoons, the beauty of the place increases manifold with an abundance of colors embellished in the landscape. The fresh, quiet environment provides just the perfect ambiance for study and research activities.


In 1958, to provide a solution to healthcare problems in western Orissa, a decision to set up a medical college, 2nd in state and 54th in the country at Burla, near Sambalpur city was taken by the then Chief Minister of Orissa Dr. Harekrushna Mahatab. Consequently, the Burla Medical College (BMC) came into existence in July, 1959 with 41 boys and 9 girls selected from SCB Medical College, Cuttack to become its first batch of students.

The College started to function in the present OCB building, under the guidance of Prof. Dr. Radhanath Mishra as its first principal. Initially, the MCI refused to recognize BMC, citing gross infrastructural inadequacy. So, a new sprawling campus was designed, complete with main college building, hospital building, hostels and staff quarters and construction began on 12th February, 1961. Upon completion of the work in 1966, the college was shifted to the new campus and it finally got MCI nod in 1967. In 1969,It was rechristened as Veer Surendra Sai Medical College in honor of the great freedom fighter & martyr, the lion of sambalpur , Veer Surendra Sai.