CHANDIGARH: After pressure from state government employees regarding dope test, the Punjab Government has now decided in principal to give some relaxation in this regard.
In the coming days it is likely that the government will exempt women employees and also the employees above 50 years of age from this test.
It is learnt that there are approximately 90,000 women employees.
The decision to exempt them is being taken on the ground that the percentage of women addicted to drugs in the state was almost nil thus it does not send the right signal if they are asked to undergo a dope test.
Sources said that the argument given is that the employees above 50 years of age are consuming one medicine or the other as above this age almost all of them have some medical problem.
Thus, those on medication for ailments should also be exempted after they submit their prescriptions from a health expert thus if their dope test is conducted then there result will come positive which will be embarrassing for them in the society as the people will think that they are on drugs.
Thus besides women the government has almost decided to give relaxation to employees above 50 years from dope test.
The Chief Minister Office (CMO) has asked the Chief Secretary Karan A Singh to work out the modalities in this regard.
It is learnt that the government is also mulling the idea that as the dope tests costs Rs 1,500 so the state government employee should be allowed to take reimbursement of this test in his medical bills which one submits to the government.
But those employees whoe fixed medical reimbursements per month from the government the government is not clear on reimbursement to those employees.
As the finance department is of the opinion that these employees are already been paid medical expenses per month. It is quite possible that the government might pay this expense from it's own pocket but still a final decision has to be taken.
As per the government instructions the dope test will be done during recruitment, promotion and at the annual medical examination which employees need to face. Earlier Punjab Government Employees Organisation (PGEO) threatened state-wide protests if the government singled out employees as they said that all the ministers and MLAs should also give their dope test.
Punjab Minister waits for 45 Minutes but no dope test
As for the second time Rural Development and Panchayat Minister Tripat Rajinder Singh Bajwa yesterday went for his dope test but this time also be could not get it done as he waited at the Government Hospital in Mohali for 45 minutes and had to return back as their doctors and staff were in a meeting with the civil surgeon thus no one attended him.
The fuming Minister then returned back to his office and called up Additional Chief Secretary (Health) Satish Chandra and told him what transpired there.
The officer apologised to the minister. Then the Civil Surgeon of Mohali also called up and apologised to the minister over the incident.
Last week Bajwa had gone there for the dope test and returned back as he was on medication and was told to come after a week.
Rural Dispensaries to help in drug de-addiction
The 1186 dispensaries falling under the Rural Development Department, would also discharge their functions as the drug rehabilitation centres as per the Mission Tandarust Punjab in the villages.
The 786 doctors deputed in these dispensaries and the para medical staff would treat the youth addicted to drugs.