More than 300 resident doctors in KEM and Nair hospitals observed Tuesday as a black day to protest against the rise in medical education fees.
Similar protests were carried out across the state by resident doctors attached to Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD). Doctors wore black bands and black shirts, shouting anti-government slogans. “No entry for common man in medical education; No medical education for poor,” read some of the placards.
“We strongly oppose the sudden fee hike. We want the government to look into problems such as lack of security for doctors in hospitals, issue of increased bond money and lack of health insurance policy for the doctors,” said Dr Farhan Hamid, general secretary, MARD, Nair Hospital. “If our demands are not met and required action is not taken, then we will go on a token strike soon.”
Last week after the state cabinet gave its nod to hike annual fee for the MBBS course, from Rs 18,000 to Rs 45,000, a delegation of MARD representatives had handed a protest letter to officials in Mantralaya and the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
“Poor students do not have money to pay huge capitation fees in private colleges. What option is left for them if they hike the fees in government hospitals too,” said Vikas Yadav, a second year MBBS student of Nair Hospital.
Doctors are also opposing a proposal to raise the bond amount that students have to pay if they do not serve in rural areas. The amount for undergraduate students is expected to rise from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 15 lakh, for post-graduate students from Rs 15 lakh to Rs 50 lakh and for super-specialty students from Rs 25 lakh to Rs 2 crore.