Health Minister Anbumani Ramadoss today threatened to take penal action against doctors going on strike at AIIMS as they were playing with the lives of patients.
Dr Ramadoss said here that he has already appealed to the agitating students and doctors to come back to work but if they still continued with the agitation the government would have no option but to crack the whip this time.
Stating that only a handful of about 50 doctors/ students, who were earlier behind the anti-quota stir, were also behind the current agitation, he said that it was causing problems for the patients and many of them are dying. The responsibility for it would be fixed, he added.
Pointing out that the doctors have gone on strike on the Venugopal's issue, Dr Ramadoss said, "If Dr Venugopal has any medical humanitarian approach, he should appeal to doctors to come back to work and save the lives of people."
Asked what the government is doing to mitigate suffering of patients who are being denied treatment at the premier institute, Dr Ramadoss said that directions have been given to the Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital to increase the manpower there to deal with the extra rush of patients.
Refuting the charge of interfering in the autonomy of AIIMS and humiliating Dr Venugopal, Dr Ramadoss said that all the decisions were taken to improve the administration of the premier institute and not compromise on its autonomy.
Regarding the court's observation flaying the government for not paying the salaries to the doctors for the anti-quota stir period, the health minister said it was "just the comment and not direction to the government. We have explained our point of view but decision will be taken only after the court gives its direction today.