The day-long ‘mass bunk’ by more than 3,000 resident doctors across the state’s medical colleges on Thursday was in bad taste, said Dr Pravin Shingare, joint director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER).
Shingare added that their demand for an increase in stipend by Rs9,000 a month was completely unreasonable.
According to the Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (Mard), the DMER is supposed to revise residents’ stipend every three years. The last time salaries of residents, who are paid about Rs33,000 a month, were hiked was in 2009.
“I met with members of Mard on Tuesday. We told them we would consider their demands, but no promise was made. We also told them to wait till March 31 before expecting a revision in stipend,” said Shingare.
With about 1,500 doctors in the city remaining absent from duty, services including surgeries at public hospitals such as KEM, Nair, Sion and JJ Hospital suffered. Despite this, DMER authorities did not call for a meeting with Mard members. “We waited all day for them to call us,” said Dr Sachin Ambewar, additional secretary, Mard.
Shingare said that there was nothing to discuss as such a huge hike in salaries was unreasonable. “It is not easy for us to suddenly implement such a hike. We spend over Rs25 lakh for a student, for subsidies,” he said.
If their demands are not met, Mard officials have threatened to go on an indefinite strike from the first week of February.
Post-graduate students, who have to serve in public hospitals, also demanded that clauses in their bonds be looked into. Members of Mard added that they were not even entitled to casual leaves or an experience certificate validating their period of service at public hospitals.