Protesters lock office of NEIGRIHMS director

SHILLONG, May 13: Activists of the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), demanding the removal of the director of the North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health & Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) here in Meghalaya, on Monday locked his office, officials said.
KSU president Lambokstar Marngar said the KSU protested at the administrative block of the institute, demanding immediate removal of Director DM Thappa from his post following a stand-off between him and the cardiology department head in the institute which affected surgeries.
“The government should immediately remove him from his post. He is playing with the lives of patients and we cannot allow this institute to accommodate murderers,” Marngar told PTI.
After the protesters left, a magistrate and senior police officials reached the institute to open the office of the director, which was locked by the protesters.
City SP Steve Rynjah said the police have taken suo moto action in this regard and security cover of NEIGRIHMS has been upped.
“We have taken a suo moto action in this case. We have tightened security in and around the premises,” Rynjah said.
While no FIR was lodged, the SP said the police have launched an investigation into the matter and the people involved in the protests have been identified.
Last week, the Meghalaya High Court, hearing a PIL, had directed the director and the cardiology HoD to resolve their differences amicably and to ensure that patients requiring surgeries are not affected.
On 9 May, additional chief secretary RV Suchiang chaired a tri-partite meeting which was attended by Union Health Ministry Joint Secretary Gayatri Mishra, the NEIGRIHMS director and the institute’s cardiology department head Dr Animesh Mishra, and representatives from Amrit pharmacy.
Three surgeries were performed last Friday.
The HC had also directed the NEIGRIHMS authorities to work out a formula and ensure that surgeries in the cardiology department are resumed, and to come up with long-term solutions so that patients are not affected.
NEIGRIHMS authorities had seized stents worth Rs 20 lakhs from a private vendor under the director’s order that stents should be procured from Amrit pharmacy and not from private suppliers as the cost is higher.
According to the cardiology department head, Amrit pharmacy does not have readily available stocks of stents meant for heart surgeries.
Following the seizure of stents from a private vendor, about 34 surgeries were delayed and a 52-year-old patient died last week due to the unavailability of the surgical materials, according to officials at the institute.
NEIGRIHMS spokesperson Dr K Pandita was not available for comments. (PTI)