“Ignored” from COVID-19 warrior awards, doctors in Bandipora express resentment

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The healthcare workers, including doctors, from north Kashmir’s Bandipora district, have expressed resentment against the government for “ignoring” them from the COVID-19 warrior awards on the Independence Day.

A senior doctor from Community Health Centre (CHC) Hajin told a local news agency, Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that they had sent their names for the award days ago. “It is ironic that we have been ignored at a time when we put our lives at risk to reach positive patients and help them in recovering from the disease,” he said.

“It was surprising when we were not even called today unlike the officials from other departments like Revenue, Rural Development Department, education and municipality,” he said. “We put our lives at risk to save the lives of patients during a pandemic. But, it is unfortunate that we were ignored by the government,” he said.

Many of the health employees also echoed similar views. Recently, a doctor identified as Shabir Ahmad Malik from Sumbal died after he contracted the virus during the line of duty at the border area of Gurez. His family told KNO that they have not received any phone call from the district administration Bandipora today.

“My husband has lost his life and the administration should have at least recalled his contribution during the pandemic or should have called his family today to highlight his role,” the deceased doctor’s wife said.

“It shows how the system treats a true warrior,” she said. “In the late Friday evening, I received a short phone call from Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Bandipora and he asked me to be present early today (Saturday) morning at Bandipora Stadium. He should have arranged a vehicle for me if he was serious as it was not possible for me to reach anywhere in the morning as there is no vehicle available at my home.”

Sub District Magistrate (SDM) Sumbal, Bashir Ahmad told KNO that they had asked all the departments to send the lists and the awards were given to those only who had shared their list.

Meanwhile, a top health official in Bandipora said that it is disappointing for all the health employees of Bandipora district who were ignored from the awards. He said that he will talk to the Directorate of Health Services Kashmir (DHSK) in this regard. He added that he is personally disappointed with the selective award distribution today. (KNO)

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