The Jammu and Kashmir administration has stripped the valley’s premier tertiary care health institute ‘Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Science (SKIMS)’ of its autonomous status, triggering criticism from political parties.
“The administration of SKIMS has been assigned to Health and Medical Education Department,” read a letter to the director of SKIMS by the under-secretary of the General Administration department.
“Accordingly, I am directed to intimate you that henceforth all matters/proposals/case files may be submitted for consideration/approval of the Competent Authority (HLG) through the Health and Medical Education Department,” it added.
Political parties in the Valley decried the move and demanded an immediate rollback of the decision.
National Conference (NC) chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said the premier healthcare institution was conceptualised four decades back by NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah, who was popularly known as ‘Sher-e-Kashmir’.
Undermining its autonomy by bringing it under the administrative control of the health department runs opposite to the government’s minimum government and maximum governance slogan, he added.
The institution has been met with step-motherly treatment under the current setup, Sadiq said.
“The present dispensation has gone a step further by snatching its financial and operational autonomy. SKIMS is a deemed university and has been actively involved in imparting quality education and training to aspirants of the highest standard in different disciplines of medicine, surgery, non-clinical and laboratory fields. So how can it be treated at par with government medical colleges,” he asked.
Demanding an immediate rollback of the decision, Sadiq said such “stark irreverence” of the incumbent government towards SKIMS is unacceptable.
“The government should stop toying with the institutional integrity and autonomy of the premier institute,” he added.
CPI(M) leader M Y Tarigami said SKIMS has over the years provided patient care much better than other facilities in the region.
“Stripping what little autonomy this top-tier institution had will have an adverse impact on both its patient care and research,” he said.