A physiotherapist from Tripura was suspended from service over a Facebook post she had written about an expensive machine that was allegedly purchased without any tendering process.
Anindita Bhowmik, who works at Tripura Medical College and Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital wrote in her post said, "Without calling tender, an immoral OSD has given the tender to a private party without due diligence…"
This post created repercussions amongst the hospital authorities even though she had not mentioned anything against the hospital or its officials, reported The Wire. The hospital authorities had asked her to take down the post but on refusing to do so, she was threatened to face severe consequences, added the report.
The authorities called her father, Arun Chandra Bhowmik, ruling BJP MLA of Belonia sub-division under Tripura's South district asking him to convince her. But on March 27, when all their efforts turned futile, Swapan Saha, the chief executive officer of the Society for Tripura Medical College and Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital, suspended her from service.
Bhowmik said she was never threatened before despite writing multiple posts on Facebook criticising the government. She said that ever since 2018 when the BJP Government started ruling in Tripura, it feels as though the freedom of expression has been curtailed.
"During the Left Front Government, FIRs were filed against me several times for criticising the government…" she said, "… but I have never been threatened in this manner, nor did I ever have to face a situation where I was facing professional consequences for my personal opinion."
In defence of Bhowmik's allegations, the hospital officials in an official statement said that the hospital was financially suffering because of an old CT scan machine. Thus an executive committee meeting was held in July last year and it was decided that the CT scan service would be outsourced.
Accordingly, in October 2020, an e-tender was called and two companies from Kolkata and Agartala participated in the tender. The rates offered by the Calcutta-based company exceeded the prescribed rate offered by the hospital society and the Agartala-based company even though offering a good rate, had the cost of their CT scan machine higher than that affordable for the hospital authorities.
The hospital officials further added that Bhowmik posted on social media without knowing the entire issue and subsequently issued a public insult to the officers working in the society.
When an attempt was made to convince Bhowmik, she did not take it well and even entered the CEO's room raising a finger and demanding an explanation as to why the CEO had called her father. She even threatened to take legal actions against the CEO and abused him. Under such circumstances, she was suspended from service, explained the officials.