The rural medical officers (RMOs) working under zila parishads have decided to start a statewide agitation from January in case the government fails to consider their demand for postgraduation quota in medical colleges.
The decision was taken in a state-level meeting of the Rural Medical Services Association (RMSA), Punjab here on Sunday. More than 70 office-bearers of the association participated in the meeting.
Accusing the government of discriminating against them, association president Dr Aslam Parvez said rural doctors had been working diligently and deserved a higher qualification as per the PG quota norms of the government.
He demanded that the 60% postgraduation quota for admission to MD/MS courses in all government medical colleges of Punjab should be immediately scrapped for doctors working under the health department. "The doctors under the health department work for a few years and quit. Instead, the benefit of PG quota should be given to RMOs who have been on the job for the past several years," said Parvez.
Ironically, the government is extending PG quota to doctors working under the health department to motivate them to work in rural areas, but no benefits are being provided to the doctors who are working in rural dispensaries under the department of rural development and panchayats.
The association has urged the chief minister to intervene in the matter and threatened to boycott national health programmes and bring the functioning of rural dispensaries to a halt if their demand is not met.
It is learnt that the RMSA vice-president and joint secretary had walked out of the meeting which was convened on November 24, after which another meeting was scheduled on Sunday. The two had demanded that the association should completely boycott the cancer survey in Punjab, but a majority of the members did not endorse their suggestion. Sources said the association president was considering disciplinary action against them.