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Political Parties in J&K Slam Govt’s Move to Strip Autonomy of SKIMS Hospital

Anees Zargar |
Political parties say that the move to end the autonomous status of SKIMS, the Valley’s premier tertiary hospital, will impede its smooth functioning.
Political Parties in J&K Slam Govt’s Move to Strip Autonomy of SKIMS Hospital

Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences. Image Courtesy: Justdial

Srinagar: Political parties in Jammu and Kashmir have criticised the administration’s move to revoke the autonomy of the Sher-e-Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences (SKIMS). Its administrative control was handed to the Health and Medical Education Department days ago. 

The move to end the autonomous status of SKIMS, which is the Valley’s premier tertiary hospital, has been slammed by various political parties arguing that it will create impediments in the smooth functioning of the hospital and put patients through inconvenience. 

“Over the years, SKIMS has 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 patient care and research. Also, it will affect the efficient decision-making process and inter-departmental coordination,” Senior Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader M Y Tarigami said in a statement. 

The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference (JKNC) also denounced the action stating that the move contradicts the administration’s promise of minimum government, maximum governance slogan.

National Conference’s chief spokesperson Tanvir Sadiq said that the decision was undermining the institutional working of the institution, which had gone beyond delivering the state of art health care; it has produced skilled manpower, including doctors, paramedics and technicians. Terming it “unwarranted” and “unacceptable”, Sadiq added that once there is an elected government, the order will be revoked. He said the institution was kept out of government control to ensure efficiency and fast deliverance of facilities. 

“SKIMS is only next to the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in healthcare standards, and the administration is interfering with these institutions like it earlier did with the Wakf. I do not understand why the authorities are weakening these strong institutions,” he said. 

The hospital, which provides tertiary care to patients, was established in 1978 and was opened to the public in 1982. The establishment has been considered one of the most important contributions of former Chief Minister and NC founder Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah. While some see the move as part of the Bhartiya Janata Party’s “anti-Sheikh” politics, others find it in tune with the party’s alleged larger politics of “disempowerment”. 

“The government is disempowering people throughout the country but they seem to have a special interest in doing so with the people of Jammu and Kashmir. Since the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, they are carrying out these actions one step at a time, and it is also a part of the same process and design,” Suhail Bukhari of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) told NewsClick

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