Dental college staff, students demand action against principal in Hyderabad

Numerous complaints have been raised against the in-charge principal, Dr P Aruna, over her alleged apathy towards the staff and students.
Representative Image
Representative Image

HYDERABAD : The Government Dental College and Hospital (GDCH) in Afzalgunj is embroiled in controversy due to a tussle between the staff and students, and the in-charge principal, Dr P Aruna, who is accused of operating the institution with an iron fist.

The discord between the staff and the principal has been ongoing since Aruna took charge in September 2021. Numerous complaints have been raised against her over her alleged apathy towards the staff and students. The situation has escalated with students and staff writing a 27-page letter to the health secretary complaining that the principal was detaining students and not allowing them to appear for examinations, dismissing non-teaching staff without prior notice, not sanctioning medical leaves and withholding staff salaries without communication. They also mentioned that the Dental Council of India (DCI) had written to the health secretary, stating that the in-charge principal was failing to comply with directions regarding uploading student details on the DCI website within the cut-off date.

The staff also claimed that the in-charge principal had not permitted faculty to operate in the oral and maxillofacial surgery department’s OT, causing severe difficulties for patients and staff. Additionally, the principal was not allowing the use of the lift facility inside the hospital.

Furthermore, a female PG student was suspended from the ladies’ hostel without notice for availing emergency medical treatment, and first-year BDS students had not been allotted hostel rooms. The letter also mentioned that only one biometric machine was installed in the hostel for 500 inmates, making it difficult to register attendance in the stipulated time, leading to written explanations being sought from them.

In addition to the staff and students’ letter, the All India Dental Students Association (AIDSA) wrote a letter to the Director of Medical Education (DME) with a formal complaint against the principal for detaining 22 second-year BDS students four months ago over attendance and other issues. Claiming that the ground reality was different from what Aruna wanted to portray, the AIDSA demanded a thorough investigation and action against the principal.

Speaking to TNIE, AIDSA national president Dr Md Manzur Ahmed said, “The principal has continued to be unjust towards the students and despite assuring that she would not interfere in hostel issues, has denied allotting hostel rooms to the dental students in the Osmania General Hospital campus. Despite several requests, she also detained 22 second-year students over attendance issues and put them through turmoil for over three months. It was only after we complained that she allowed the students back to attend lectures. Besides, even the staff members have been facing abusive behaviour by her, thus making the college environment unfeasible to work.”

‘Staff, some students joined hands to malign reputation’

The principal, on the other hand, stated that she was making efforts to establish discipline and order in the hospital, and the staff and students had joined hands to malign her righteous actions. Dr P Aruna told TNIE, “Things have not been in order since I took charge back in 2021. The very faculty members who are complaining against me fail to discharge their duties during official hours from 9 am to 4 pm, causing both the OP and students to suffer. As far as the lifts are concerned, I have already submitted a letter to the government requesting funds for two new lifts, and they have been condemned by the company itself. There are several other irregularities in terms of both teaching and non-teaching staff that need to be addressed. The hostel rooms in question at OGH did not have a water facility, for which a new borewell was dug so that rooms could be allotted to students.”

The DME has constituted a three-member committee, including Dr Narendra Kumar, principal of Osmania Medical College; Dr B Nagendar, superintendent of OGH; and Dr CV Sarada, professor in the biochemistry department of Gandhi Medical College, to inquire into the issue. Dr B Nagendar told TNIE, “We have taken cognisance of the complaints, heard the pleas of all parties involved and have submitted a detailed report to the DME for further action.”

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