As the stalemate between agitating doctor and Rajasthan government continued for the fifth consecutive day, chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Sunday appealed to the medicos to resume duty "in the interest of the society".
Describing the doctors' strike as "unfortunate", Gehlot said, "The government is making all efforts to keep the situation under control and alternate arrangements have been made in view of the unfortunate strike."
The medical crisis in the state deepened on Friday after 5,000 medicos, who are on strike demanding pay hike and time-bound promotions, submitted their resignations.
All government doctors working in hospitals, dispensaries, primary health centres and resident doctors of all the six medical colleges in the state have been on strike since December 21.
Taking up cudgels for the agitating doctors, the Indian Medical Association on Sunday criticised Rajasthan government's stand over the strike and demanded revocation of Rajasthan Essential Services Maintenance Act (RESMA) for medical services.
"The government is following a repressive policy which is highly condemnable and it should lift RESMA so that doctors can openly come for talks with the government," Secretary of IMA Rajasthan SS Agrawal said.
Demanding that doctors arrested under RESMA be freed immediately, Agrawal asked the government to invite the agitators for dialogue to "understand their grievances".
State health minister Duru Miyan said the government was already in talks with the agitating doctors and expressed hope that a consensus would be arrived at soon.
The government has so far suspended 40 doctors and services of around a dozen government medicos are likely to be terminated soon, official sources said.
To minimise the impact, the government has engaged the services of private hospitals in the state, with many facilities opening their doors for patients admitted to government hospitals.
According to an official, a total of 1,720 beds in private hospitals are now available for government patients.
Meanwhile, Opposition leader Vasundhara Raje blamed the Gehlot government for the crisis.
"Dozens of people have died due to doctors' strike and the government is solely responsible for it," she said at a public function in Jhunjhunu.