Kannur Collector says his order for deploying students was in public interest
While nursing students took to the streets on Tuesday in protest against the District Collector’s magisterial order under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure directing college heads to deploy students in hospitals hit by the ongoing strike by nurses, the district administration has clarified that the order was a preventive one issued to avert any public health emergency.
The order, issued by Collector Mir Mohammed Ali, was defied by nursing students except those studying in a few colleges run by private hospitals. The students took out a march to the Collectorate on Tuesday raising slogans that they would defy the order regardless of the consequences.
Responding to queries from reporters, Mr. Ali said the order was in public interest with a limited validity of five days and had been issued after wide consultations.
Stating that he was ready to talk to those who had any misgivings about the order, he said the intention was to provide assistance to staff nurses in hospitals and reduce the burden of the existing staff. The students would not be handling patients independently, he said.
Warns of stir
Inaugurating the march organised by the Student Nurses’ Association, Ramees M., State programme chairman of the association, said if the Collector did not withdraw the order by 10 a.m. on July 19, the association would launch an indefinite strike in front of the Collectorate.
Indian Nurses’ Association (INA) secretary E.M. Vineeth Krishnan, in his address, said the Collector deserved thanks as his order had led to the mobilisation of the students for a common cause.
Meanwhile, Communist Party of India (Marxist) district secretary P. Jayarajan, in a statement, said the order would cause many adverse consequences.
He, however, flayed the INA leadership for dragging the nurses into an agitation even after Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had convened a conciliatory talk.
The functioning of seven hospitals in the district where nurses are on strike has been severely hit. Many of the hospitals have drastically reduced the intake of inpatients (IP). Nithin Pavithran, administrator of KIMST Hospital here, said the hospital had reduced the intake by less than half.
The Koyili Hospital management said the number of IP right now was around 70 as against 350 it used to have before the strike.
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