More than 3000 resident doctors working in government-run medical colleges in the state have threatened to ‘mass bunk’ on January 24 to protest against, among others things, the non-implementation of their long pending demand of hike in pay.
The 24 hour long ‘mass bunk’ - a term doctors have used to avoid prosecution under the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act which prohibits them from striking - would only affect services of public hospitals such as KEM, Nair, Sion and Sir J J Hospital. Around 1500 resident doctors work in the city.
In 2009, the state medical education department had promised the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) a revision in stipends every three years. “As per the minutes of meetings they should have revised our stipend upwards in 2012. We even sent them a series of reminders but they did not pay heed,” said Dr Shivkumar Kolle, general secretary of central MARD.
Apart from the revision of stipend MARD officials have also blamed the state government of the poor implementation of the bond policy. Any medical student who is a graduate or a post-graduate from a government-run medical college in the state is expected to serve in the public set up for a stipulated period.
“Though the government wants us to serve the bond, they don’t facilitate it properly. We don’t even get an experience certificate for the time we serve the bond. There is also discrepancy in the payment depending on the position,” said Dr Sachin Ambewar, additional general secretary, MARD adding that they are not entitled to any casual leaves during the bond period.
Resident doctors are also upset over the discontinuation of the scholarship given to students of the reserved category. “From the past two years, reserved category students have been unable to get the scholarships,” said a MARD official.