The Junior Doctors Association (JDA) called off its five-day old strike, which had crippled the functioning of the Patna Medical College Hospital (PMCH) and the Darbhanga Medical College Hospital (DMCH), after a meeting with Health Minister Nand Kishore Yadav here late on Monday evening.
The decision to withdraw the strike followed an assurance from the Health Minister that the government would try to raise the monthly stipend of junior doctors pursuing post-graduation at the PMCH and the DMCH to Rs 25,000. As of now, they get a monthly stipend of Rs 13,000 in the first year that goes on increasing by Rs 1,000 for the next two years of post-graduation.
Besides, it was also decided the government would constitute a committee to look into the implementation of the residency scheme, including payment of salary instead of stipend to PGs in the two medical colleges. The committee, which would have a representative from the JDA, would also look into the problems of junior doctors and suggest ways to redress them.
The understanding reached with the government was however, a climb down for the JDA, which was demanding nothing short of salary under residency scheme - a demand the State Government was in no mood to accept.
The JDA was forced to the negotiation table after the State Government hardened its stand on Monday, warning the agitating junior doctors of stern action if they did not report for duty.
Earlier, shooting off missives to the principals of the two medical colleges, Principal Secretary, Health, CK Mishra had sought report on the strike and also asked them to ensure compliance of duty, failing which he warned that action would be taken against the absentees.
On the basis of the health secretary's letter, DMCH Principal Dr SN Sinha had issued notice to striking doctors giving them time till Monday to resume duty. "If they do not join duty, I will issue show-cause notices tomorrow, asking them to explain why not their stipend be deducted, they be evicted from hostel and suspended from college," said Dr Sinha earlier in the day.