Meghalaya: ‘To be or not to be’- NEIGRIHMS and the Centre’s apathy towards it!


Shillong, April 10, 2017: North Eastern Indira Gandhi Regional Institute of Health and Medical Sciences (NEIGRIHMS) located in Meghalaya is one of the premier health institutes not only in the Northeast Indian region but across India. Once declared as a 'Centre of Excellence' by the Indian Parliament, the credibility of this tag is now being questioned by many and the reasons for the same are much justified.

Although established on the lines of AIIMS-Delhi, PGIMER-Chandigarh and JIPMER-Puducherry, the working of NEIGRIHMS is in no way similar to any of them given the fact that the apex head of the premier institute has never been able to reign long enough to maintain a smooth functioning, leave alone quality services for all. NEIGRIHMS is, yet again inducting a new director and just like the previous ones; even this esteemed post will not be occupied by someone from the periphery of the region or the institute itself. The irony about NEIGRIHMS is that is that since its inception, more than '10 directors' have come and left the place in a very short span of time.

If sources are to be believed, the new director too does not hail from Northeast India, leave alone from NEIGRIHMS. It is disheartening to see the step-fatherly attitude of the Centre towards the Northeastern region, which is not something new to the place.

It is worth mentioning here that in the recent past, the 'so-called' premier institute has lost its sheen as the central government seems to have beautifully orchestrated the downfall of the health sector of the Northeast Indian region which is inevitable given the fact that by the time the new director takes stock of the situation and the pulse of the people, it is already time for him to leave the place. A question may then be raised in this regard as to 'How can someone who does not have a good knowledge of Northeast India be appointed as the head of Northeast India's premier institute?. Being established on the lines of AIIMS, PGIMER and JIPMER, it must be noted that all these institutes have their own faculty as directors and hence an improved quality health service as the directors can directly align and associate themselves with the people and the problems.

Again, NEIGRIHMS is in no dearth of well qualified, senior faculty members yet why is it that no one from the institute itself is deemed worthy of the Director's position? This is a question that lingers in the mind of a common man who hails the being of the premier institute but can do nothing about the prevailing turbulences in it. All the other premier central institutes have always appointed someone whose career has been interwoven with that of the institute. But alas! It's NEIGRIHMS after all. The new director will surely have the best holiday package with full tenure of paid vacation amidst the 'Abode of Clouds'. The Director's bungalow has often been compared to a haunted house- haunted, not by ghosts but due to the frequencies of vacancies of the place. Moreover, hardly any director has settled with their family in the place.

Directors will come and go, students will learn and achieve, faculties will join and retire, staffs will work and leave but the institute in itself will be the biggest stake holder who will suffer under the hands of inconsistent directors and the apathy of the Central government. Everyone and everything is dispensable but not the institute. Does it take 10 unsuccessful directors for the Centre or even more to do nothing about the deteriorating fate of NEIGRIHMS?

Hence it is imperative that the institute stands strong and firm to face any adversities under a leader who knows the institute to the core. To be or not to be, this is the biggest question here. Health sector is not a joke and making a business out of it is the worst form of apathy that the region can ever witness!

By (A concerned person)