Thiruvananthapuram: Even as Kerala battles COVID-19 pandemic, one of the key hospitals in the state is embroiled in a controversy.
The row erupted after Dr Asha Kishore was allowed to continue as the director of Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology in Thiruvananthapuram. A section of the leaders in the BJP is allegedly behind attempts to oust her from the post.
The Union Ministry of Science and Technology had asked to revoke the decision to extend Dr Asha Kishore's term. However, Sree Chitra Institute president and NITI Aayog member Dr V K Saraswat said that this directive was in violation of the norms and hence cannot be followed.
As the row intensified, deputy director V K Girija gave in her resignation letter on Thursday. Though Asha Kishore also offered to resign, the institute body has reportedly asked her to refrain from doing so now.
Meanwhile, some leaders in the BJP have approached the central leadership against the move to oust the director.
The Sree Chitra Institute body had recently decided to extend Dr Asha Kishore's tenure for another five years. Based on this, she had resumed charge on July 16. Then some leaders used their political clout in the Centre and a missive was shot off to Dr Saraswat by Union Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
However, Saraswat replied that revoking the institute body's decision would be against the Parliament Act and a High Court order.
A complaint was also filed at the Central Administration Tribunal, seeking to stay the extension. Even as the tribunal is set to hold a hearing on the complaint on August 5, pressure tactics are allegedly being used to make Dr Asha Kishore resign.
However, employees are apprehensive that such needless political interventions could drastically affect Sree Chitra, that is involved in several key research including COVID-19.
Earlier, Dr M S Valiathan among others had left Sree Chitra due to such political games, they pointed out.