The agitating doctors and other staff of the Punjab Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS) on Monday, the 13th day of their protest, held a protest march from the PIMS to the office of the deputy commissioner and decided to begin a chain hunger strike if the management failed to release their salaries in two days.
Doctors, staff nurses, students, clerical, paramedical staff and others participated in the protest march and raised slogan in favour of their demands including early release of salaries.
At the administrative complex, the agitators submitted a memorandum of their demands to additional deputy commissioner (ADC) Pritam Singh.
"During the previous year, the medical council of India had barred the PIMS to admit students in the first year of MBBS due to inadequate infrastructure. This year too, there seems to be no chance of getting MCI nod as the situation has again come to a sorry pass, rued an agitating student.
"No salaries have been paid to doctors since July and non-teaching and paramedical staff since October. Menial staff were paid only Rs 1,000 each on Diwali. Their salaries have also been pending for the past several months," agitators revealed.
Addressing the gathering, Dr SS Sidhu rued the apathetic attitude of the PIMS management towards the agitating staff. "None from the management is present at the campus. All the doctors are on strike for the last 13 days and the management has not bother to even call us. All the OPDs had been locked. Terminal exams of the second year students had been called off due to boycott by the students. For the first time, we had to come on roads to ensure the release of our salaries," he said.
"We would also chalk out a plan to sit on a chain hunger strike, if the PIMS management does not release salaries in two days," he added.
Members of the Punjab Students Union also participated in the protest march.
The PIMS Medical and Education Charitable Society, led by rural development and panchayats minister Surjit Singh Rakhra, to whom the institute was handed over on a 99-year lease, had shown helplessness in managing the affairs and had sought the state government's permission to hand over the hospital to the Fortis for making it operational.
Chief minister Parkash Singh Badal had also indicated during his visit to the city that the government was planning to hand it over to some private party and the decision could be taken in coming days.