About 4,200 government doctors owing allegiance to the Bihar State Health Services Association (BSHSA) went on a two-day strike from midnight to press their demands, including central pay scales.
"The strike is total," BSHSA spokesman Ranjit Kumar told PTI, claiming it has hit 25 district hospitals, 70 referral hospitals, 23 sub-divisional hospitals, 533 primary health centres and 1,259 additional primary health centres.
He claimed all 3000 medical officers and about 1200 contractual doctors had joined the stir.
However, the doctors of state's six medical college hospitals -- Patna Medical College Hospital, Nalanda Medical College Hospital, S K Medical College Hospital, A N Magadh Medical College Hospital, J N Medical College Hospital and Darbhanga Medical College Hospital-- are not on strike.
Apart from central pay scales and service conditions, the doctors are demanding dynamic Assured Career Progression (ACP) and restoration of the power of the health directorate.
Meanwhile, state's Health Minister Chandramohan Rai claimed that alternative arrangements had been made by the government to attend the patients in government hospitals.
He said the government was prepared to accept all the demands of the agitating doctors provided they swore affidavit promising not not to continue private practice.
Rai said the government would provide non-practising allowance to the doctors from the day they swore affidavits abjuring private practice.
He said the government also proposed to raise a special police battalion to provide security to the doctors, often the target of extortionists.
BSHSA has threatened to go on an indefinite strike from February 21 if their demands were not met.