Resident doctors of three North Corporation-run hospitals, who are currently agitating over their pending salaries, on Thursday decided to hold a joint protest at Jantar Mantar on October 16, with the RDAs saying no resolution seems to be in sight to the issue. These doctors are from Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital and Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital.
The members of the Resident Doctors’ Association of the Hindu Rao Hospital have been protesting for the past several days and had gone on an indefinite strike, seeking release of salaries due for the past three months. Since Wednesday, resident doctors of the Kasturba Hospital are on a week-long strike over their pending salaries too.
”The RDA of Hindu Rao Hospital stands in solidarity with the RDA of Kasturba Hospital and RDA of Rajen Babu TB Hospital in the ongoing agitation on the grounds of non-payment of salaries for almost four months. We cumulatively would like to state that there hasn’t been any resolution to our issues,” the RDA of Hindu Rao Hospital said in a statement on Thursday. ”Therefore, we all North MCD residents would like to join hands on a common platform to demonstrate our agitation validating our affliction with the administration due to strict non-compliance. Considering the above situation, we would have to resort to hold a peaceful protest at Jantar Mantar on October 16 to symbolise our agony,” it said.
North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash, in a tweet, late Wednesday night had claimed, ”Today, salaries released of all doctors, nurses, paramedics and group C and D staff and for the rest it will be released soon.” Prakash, when contacted, said salary has been released for the ”month of July”. A doctor at the Hindu Rao Hospital said ”only one month’s due salary has been given”.
The hospital RDA’s president Abhimanyu Sardana, however, on Wednesday had said, ”the protest will continue”. The RDA of Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital also issued a solidarity statement and joined the call for protest here on Friday.
Prakash, in a statement on Wednesday, had claimed that doctors and nurses of Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital had withdrawn their strike. The crisis over pending salaries of doctors of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals had deepened on Wednesday as an association of permanent medics also threatened that its members will go on an indefinite strike from October 19 if their demands were not met, including release of pending salaries.
The Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association (MCDA) also issued a statement expressing solidarity with their agitating colleagues — resident doctors — of Hindu Rao Hospital and Kasturba Hospital, both under the NDMC. Meanwhile, the MCDA has written a letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, seeking a meeting with him to find a way out of the crisis.
”Now, you are the only and last hope for us to get a permanent solution to this persistent problem of non-payment of salaries to doctors. Before going ahead with our impending strike from October 19, we want to explore a permanent solution to resolve this lingering issue once and for all,” the letter stated. Hindu Rao Hospital is the largest municipal hospital in Delhi with 900 beds, and was recently removed from the list of dedicated COVID-19 facility. Many of its healthcare workers had contracted the infection earlier.
The BJP, which controls the NDMC and ruling AAP have sought to blame each other for the situation. Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain has on several occasions said that if ”MCD cannot run its hospitals and pay salaries to doctors, they should hand over the facilities to the Delhi government”.
North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash has been accusing the AAP government of ”not having released funds due to the NDMC”.
First Published: IST