The government on Saturday made a veiled threat to the striking medicos of Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) that their careers were at stake if they continued with the strike. The junior doctors have struck work since Tuesday primarily demanding enhancement of monthly stipend from Rs 13,000 to Rs 25,000.
Additional Secretary, Health, Sanjeev Kumar Hans, who visited the PMCH, told medicos to resume duty, now that an upward revision of stipend was imminent.
At the same time, he also apprised them of the State Human Rights Commission (SHRC) missive, asking the state why the agitating medicos’ registration should not be cancelled.
Hans also told the medicos that if they withdrew the strike, the government would defend them before the SHRC, which has summoned Principal Secretary, Health, for a hearing on Monday. So far, 34 persons have died during the ongoing strike at the PMCH while 52 deaths were reported during the earlier strike between August 26 and 30.
Hans told HT: “The medicos have said that they will take a call on the strike after discussing the issue at their general body meeting on Sunday.”
On its part, the health department modified the file on proposed stipend after the finance department had returned it with some queries. The finance department had sought details of stipend of more states besides Jharkhand and Orissa while initiating the proposal for approval.
The health department has now sent the stipend structure for PG in West Bengal and UP also. Besides, it has also appended a comparative analysis of PG stipend in different states, as worked out by the core committee headed by the earlier Additional Commissioner, Health.
The grapevine has it that the issue is hanging fire primarily because of a clash of opinions between Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi and Health Minister Nand Kishore Yadav.
Modi is believed to have questioned Yadav on his decision to enhance the PGs stipend without clearing it with Finance. Though Modi could not be contacted, Yadav vehemently denied any clash on this score.
Yadav said: “I had spoken to people in Finance before making the announcement in August.” Asked who all he did talk to, Yadav said: “As a matter of principle, I do not believe in discussing inter-departmental matters with the media.”