Ex-CM Channi’s doctor sister-in-law quits after rap from health minister

The Aam Aadmi Party government in Punjab found itself in a fresh controversy after Dr Maninder Kaur opted for premature retirement after Health Minister Chetan Singh Jouramajra visited the Kharar civil hospital, where she is posted as senior medical officer, and lashed out at her over non-functional fans and alleged lack of cleanliness in washroom.

Dr Kaur, the wife of Dr Manohar Singh who is the brother of former chief minister Charanjit Singh Channi, applied for voluntary retirement from service, the day government issued an order transferring her to Dhanaula.

This comes at a time even as a controversy over Dr Raj Bahadur resigning as Vice Chancellor of Baba Farid University of Health Sciences after being “humiliated” by Jouramajra is yet to blow over.

Jouramajra along with Kharar MLA and minister Anmol Gagan Maan had visited the Kharar hospital on July 20. last month. During his visit, Jouramajra had expressed displeasure over non-functional fans in some wards of the hospital and alleged lack of cleanliness in a washroom.

Two days later, she was transferred to Dhanaula in Barnala.

“My wife has taken premature retirement because of personal reasons. We are living in Kharar and we cannot shift to Barnala,” said Manohar Singh, who had unsuccessfully contested the Assembly election earlier this year as an independent from Bassi Pathana.

Dr Kaur told the media that she had served as a doctor for 22 years. She said she will serve the three-month notice period following her resignation. She has not yet joined at Dhanaula.

Reacting to her resignation, AAP spokesperson Malwinder Singh Kang said, “These people will have to work. If they are daughter-in-law, son, or relative of a reputed family, that does not mean they would not work”.

Dr Raj Bahadur too has not joined work despite Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann speaking to him again on Monday, urging him to withdraw his resignation. Dr Raj Bahadur had resigned after Jouramajra had forced the noted spine specialist to lie on a dirty mattress during an inspection.

“He has not joined yet. He is also stated to be unwell. He had fever and had got himself tested for Covid. He was not answering calls on Tuesday,” a government functionary said.

The official added that the CM was likely to meet Dr Raj Bahadur soon.

Meanwhile, after Dr Kaur’s resignation, state Congress chief Amrinder Singh Raja Warring hit out at AAP. “Misplaced priorities of minister Jouramajra have created storm in health department.

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Resignations are pouring in every day, that too when Covid-19 is knocking at our doors with 260% rise in cases in July. High time CM Mann takes remedial measures, lest state is caught unawares,” Warring said in a tweet.

The Opposition has been demanding removal of Jouramajra as health minister. Sources in the government said the CM was not likely to take any action against him. The CM had however regretted the incident involving Jouramajra and Dr Bahadur and stated that it could have been handled differently.”

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