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ESMA invoked for govt hospitals

delhi Updated: Dec 04, 2007 02:24 IST
Jaya Shroff
Jaya Shroff
Hindustan Times
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Taking notice of the frequent strikes at the Capital’s government hospitals, the Delhi government has imposed a ban on strikes or agitations for the period of six months in the city.

The Lieutenant Governor imposed the Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on striking hospitals declaring all kinds of agitations as ‘illegal’.

The order reads: “Satisfied that in the public interest it is necessary and expedient to prohibit the strike/agitation by the employees of hospital/dispensaries functioning under the administrative control of the Government of NCT of Delhi.”

The order comes in the wake of the paramedical staff of five government hospitals — GB Pant Hospital, Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Hospital, Maulana Azad Medical College, Guru Nanak Eye Centre and Maulana Azad Dental Hospital — threatening a 48-hour strike. The strike, however, was eventually called off after a meeting between paramedics and health secretary Vivek Rae late on Monday evening.

On November 27, health services in five government hospitals remained severely hit as OPD, pharmacy, wards and other medical lab services including X-ray, ECG remained suspended as 5,000 paramedical staff, including nurses, refused to join their duties.

Resident doctors at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMs) were on strike on November 29, protesting the Union Health Ministry’s decision to limit the tenure of the institute’s director to 65 years.

Angry at the constant strikes by city doctors, the Delhi High Court had threatened to order cancellation of licences and the immediate termination of striking doctors. The court also made it clear that it would not allow the doctors to take the law into their hands jeopardising the lives of patients.

“Doctors going on strike at the drop of a hat have become a serious concern. If they (resident doctors) go on strike, their salaries should be deducted and their licences cancelled,” a bench comprising Chief Justice M.K. Sharma and Justice Sanjeev Khanna told the authorities at AIIMs.