For 12 years, Simon Nag served a number of tea gardens in Assam as a medical officer. However his innings led to June this yr when police nabbed him for impersonating Dr Stephen Anthony, a health care provider from Bengaluru presently primarily based in Singapore.

The 37-year-old, who didn’t move even his Class 10 exams, served as a health care provider at Mokalbari Tea Property in Dibrugarh district and was in a position to dupe many throughout his stint in different tea gardens as effectively. It goes with out saying that Nag was risking the lives of hundreds of tea backyard employees.

Nonetheless, Nag’s case just isn’t an exception. In June itself, two different faux docs working in tea backyard hospitals had been present in Dibrugarh district. One Eyakub Ali, the medical officer of Hatiali Tea Property was nabbed for impersonating Dr Eyakub Ali Ahmed, an obstetrics and gynaecology specialist working in Chirang district.

The identical month, police in Dibrugarh registered a case towards an unidentified one that was working as a health care provider in Mancotta Tea Property by impersonating Dr Hirak Das, a professor of anatomy at Guwahati Medical Faculty Hospital (GMCH). The accused has been on the run since.

In September final yr, Pankaj Kumar Nath (55), who was working as a health care provider in Tinkhong Tea Property was arrested by Dibrugarh police for practising for the previous two years with the assistance of a solid MBBS certificates.

In keeping with authorities figures, there are 803 huge tea gardens unfold throughout 27 districts of Assam and run by non-public corporations. Almost 1 million informal employees are estimated to be employed in these gardens, the place healthcare and different primary services like housing and consuming water are among the many worst within the state.

“Pretend docs are a menace. Whereas a number of of them practising in tea gardens have been nabbed, there may very well be extra like them who’ve solid paperwork, stolen identities of real docs and dealing at current in different tea gardens in Assam,” stated Maj. (Retd.) Dr Jiten Borgohain, chairman of plantation docs committee of Assam department of Indian Medical Affiliation (IMA).

Borgohain, who additionally works as a medical officer in a tea backyard, stated there are a number of the reason why these faux docs handle to get employed in tea gardens.

Lack of uniformity employed by tea backyard in appointments with none correct checks in some instances and the tendency to chop corners by appointing docs on low wage are a few of them.

“The job of a health care provider in a tea backyard just isn’t very engaging to most docs…low pay, poor services within the hospitals and risk to private security are some components. This, typically, has tea gardens not scrutinising purposes totally and appointing those that comply with work for a decrease wage,” he stated.

He added that almost all of those that get appointed utilizing faux certificates or stolen identities know a bit about what medicine needs to be prescribed for widespread sicknesses and normally refer sufferers with critical issues or want of surgical procedure to raised authorities or non-public hospitals.

“These docs are courteous with their sufferers and normally preserve shifting from one backyard to a different each few years to keep away from detection. We have now talked to tea corporations about the necessity to enhance their hiring course of. Additionally, authorities have to rein in corporations who rent them with out correct checks,” stated Dr Borgohain.

Bidyananda Barkakoty, adviser of North Jap Tea Affiliation (NETA), an organisation of tea-planters which has round 150 members in Assam talked about that faux docs handle to get recruited as it isn’t attainable for some employers to detect the forgeries and because of the shortage of docs typically appointments are made in haste.

“There’s all the time a scarcity of docs in tea gardens and attributable to incidents of employees attacking medical officers after deaths of sufferers or when somebody turns into significantly sick throughout therapy, it’s very tough for corporations to seek out folks prepared to work in tea backyard hospitals,” he stated.

In September 2019, Dr Deven Dutta (73) died after employees in Teok Tea Property in Jorhat, the place he was employed, beat him up following the demise of a employee. Seven docs working in tea gardens had submitted resignations following the incident over fears of security.

Earlier the identical yr, Dr PC Thakur, posted in Dikom Tea Property in Dibrugarh suffered a number of accidents after employees attacked him following demise of a lady labourer. In June this yr, Dr Basanta Goswami, 81, posted in Majulighur Tea Property in Biswanath district was manhandled by employees over Covid-19 restrictions.

Barkakoty stated NETA would request Union minister of state for labour and employment Rameswar Teli, who hails from Assam and is a member of the tea-tribe neighborhood, to convey tea gardens in Assam beneath Workers’ State Insurance coverage Scheme in order that employees can avail higher healthcare.

“Pretend docs are getting recruited as corporations are chopping corners. There are a number of extra faux medical officers working in tea gardens. The state authorities ought to begin anti-quackery models to nab such instances,” stated Dr Abhijit Neog, chief working officer of a Guwahti-based non-public hospital.

Dr Neog’s investigation was essential within the arrest of Simon Nag in June this yr. He contacted Dr Stephen Anthony in Singapore and revealed that Nag was utilizing his identification. A former worker of a serious tea firm, Neog’s investigations have led to arrests of 20 faux docs throughout Assam until date.

In keeping with Tea Plantation Labourers Act, 1951, all tea gardens are required to nominate docs for his or her employees. Whereas appointments are made by tea gardens, monitoring of their work is completed by the state labour division by a medical officer (plantations) in every district. At current, most of those posts are mendacity vacant.

“In most districts, the posts of those docs are vacant and even those that are there aren’t current more often than not. Until date, no research has been performed on how the presence of faux docs has affected the healthcare in tea gardens,” stated Nabin Chandra Keot, vice-president of Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS), a Congress-backed organisation representing tea backyard employees.

“There needs to be a uniform coverage on recruiting docs in tea gardens. Moreover checking credentials of docs who’re working at current some survey must be carried out for nurse and pharmacists as effectively. We had submitted a memorandum on this regard two months in the past to chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma,” he added.

In 2008, Nationwide Well being Mission (NHM) Assam had launched a public-private partnership (PPP) mannequin to strengthen main well being facility in tea backyard hospitals. The scheme gave funds to tea gardens to enhance infrastructure in addition to give further advantages to docs and healthcare employees.

In 2019-20, Assam authorities launched a scheme to supply all important medicine freed from price to all tea backyard hospitals. At current 150 hospitals are operating beneath the PPP mode. Final yr, the Centre allotted 843.75 lakhs to those hospitals unfold throughout 11 districts.

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