October 26, 2015
Traffic came to a standstill for more than three hours after about 150 health workers, including women, squatted in the middle of the road, demanding action against a senior official. The protests were held less than two kilometres from Kodanadu, where Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Jayalalithaa was staying.
The protesters were disappointed that the Chief Minister did not meet them to hear their grievances.
The health workers wanted strict action to be taken against an assistant director of the Health Services (TB), who had issued 750 appointment orders when there were only 70 vacant posts of field and laboratory assistants and TB inspectors, some 18 months ago. The workers allege that the officer, Vasanthan, had received bribes ranging from Rs.3 lakhs to Rs.5 lakhs to issue appointment orders.
The workers also said that they were not paid any salary despite working for the last 18 months. Due to this, two workers had committed suicide and four had tried to end their lives. Meanwhile, following the allegations of bribery, Vasanthan was transferred to Tirupur.
They wanted to meet the Chief Minister and submit a memorandum seeking immediate arrest of Vasanthan. The Chief Minister’s personal assistant received the memorandum. Later, the workers squatted in the middle of the road at Keradamattam on Kothagiri Road, some two kilometres away from the Kodanadu guest house.
Bhanumathi, the Joint Director of Health Services, arrived after three hours and convinced the protesters to end the agitation. She asked them to prepare a list of affected persons and submit it to her. She also informed them that Vasanthan had already been suspended.