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UP docs face ESMA heat

THE STATE Government on Sunday declared the strike by resident doctors of the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) illegal under ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) and threatened the doctors with termination of services if they did not return to duties within 24 hours. The Resident Doctors Association, however, announced that the strike, which entered it third day on Sunday, would continue.

india Updated: May 22, 2006 01:13 IST

THE STATE Government on Sunday declared the strike by resident doctors of the Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) illegal under ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) and threatened the doctors with termination of services if they did not return to duties within 24 hours. The Resident Doctors Association, however, announced that the strike, which entered it third day on Sunday, would continue.

The decision was taken and a warning issued after a meeting presided over by chief secretary Naveen Chandra Bajpai to discuss the situation. In may be recalled that owing to the strike, no patients were being admitted to the hospital.

The meeting felt that such a behaviour of the resident doctors could not be tolerated any more. The chief secretary issued clear instructions to the officers that if the resident doctors did no return to the duties despite warning, then ESMA be invoked against them.

The meeting was attended by principal secretary-Law, secretary Medical Education, SGPGIMS director and incharge Hospital Administaration of SGPGIMS. The meeting was informed that of the 213 resident doctors, 192 were on strike. Some MD students too were on strike.

Meanwhile, the Resident Doctors’ Association (RDA) president Amit Goyal told HT late on Sunday night that no notice or warning had been served on the RDA as yet. “The strike will continue,” he added.

AIIMS doctors on notice

DAY EIGHT. Medicos are continuing with their agitation against the OBC reservation but the mood has mellowed down. After meeting the Group of Ministers and senior government officials, they have agreed to modify their charter of demands.

Obviously, the government is not backing down. After the students turned down the appeal of the prime minister to end their agitation, the striking resident doctors of AIIMS got notices to either return to work or vacate their hostels. In Uttar Pradesh, the government has invoked the provisions of the Essential Services Maintenance Act and declared the doctors' strike illegal. While the strike began with their demand for a "complete rollback" of the proposed 27.5 per cent reservation for OBCs, on Sunday the protestors were open to the idea of "negotiating" with the government.

Neha, a resident doctor from MAMC, said, "We understand the government has political compulsions, so we are willing to negotiate on this particular demand."
Earlier, four representatives of the medicos had met Union health secretary P.K. Hota to discuss the issue. Manish Nathani, a students' representative who was at the meeting, said, "While we are willing to negotiate the demand for a complete rollback, the government is not willing to even open a discussion."