More than 60 patients across Rajasthan have died in the last six days due to reported non-availability of medical services which have been crippled by a government doctors’ strike for promotions and better pay.
The agitation by more than 6,400 doctors, which began on December 21, continued on Monday, forcing the state government to rope in private hospitals and doctors from the army, Border Security Force and Railways to deal with the crisis.
Chief minister Ashok Gehlot appealed to the doctors to end their strike, warning that public anger could be vented on doctors. State health minister Aimaduddin Khan said district collectors had been asked to authorise private hospitals to treat patients. In Jaipur, 1,720 beds have been reserved for patients in private hospitals.
Earlier in the day, the Rajasthan University of Health Sciences held interviews and selected 1,000 doctors, while the government appointed 570 doctors. The agitating doctors are demanding salary on a par with central government doctors and time-bound promotions.
All Rajasthan In Service Doctors’ Association president Dr GD Maheshwari said after 15-16 years of service, doctors in the state were getting R36,000 per month whereas central service doctors were drawing R80,000 per month.
He said doctors got promotions after six years, 12 years and 18 years of service, but 264 doctors in the state had not been promoted in the last 18 years. The agitating doctors are demanding three promotions for those who have completed 18 years of service. The state government has agreed to all the demands except the triple promotion in one go.
Following the strike, the government has arrested 410 doctors.