Hindu Rao doctors start pen-down strike over delayed salaries
Doctors of the north municipal corporation-run Hindu Rao Hospital, a Covid-19 designated facility, are on a pen-down strike for three hours every day since the past week over the long delay in the payment of salaries.
According to the hospital’s Residents Doctors Association (RDA), they were last paid on June 15 after they moved court over delayed wages.
The doctors have warned that if they are not paid their dues by this month, they may have to stall work or go on a full-fledged strike from next month.
“We have been working through the pandemic without being paid regularly for our job. It was the 105th day that we reported to work without having been paid our dues. Despite the high court’s directions, salaries have again not been paid for three months,” said Dr Abhimanyu Sardana, president of the RDA.
The doctors do not attend to non-emergency patients and make reports between 9 am and 12 pm in the day to register their protest.
On Monday, a doctor on Covid duty wearing personal protective equipment (PPE) overalls stood with a placard that read “Doctors on covid duty : Unpaid Day-105”.
The doctors had approached the Delhi High Court in May over the non-payment of dues, after which salaries were paid till June.
Sardana said if the scenario continues, they will be forced to hold an indefinite protest.
The doctors’ association had written to the hospital administration on September 23. The association on Monday also wrote to the north corporation commissioner and the political representatives on the pending dues.
Nursing staff, paramedics and safai karamcharis of the north body-run Kasturba Hospital were also on a partial strike until Monday over the non-payment of dues. Teachers of both the north and east corporations had also been staging demonstrations over the past 26 days against delayed salaries.
North corporation mayor Jai Prakash on Monday met the protesting staffers of Kasturba Hospital and requested them to withdraw the agitation, seeking two months to resolve the issue.
“The protesting employees withdrew their strike after I requested them to allow me time till November 30 to resolve the issue of their salaries. I have approached the Centre to help us with funds, as the corporation is suffering from a severe financial crunch. We will request the Delhi government once again to release our funds or else we will have to file a PIL regarding non-disbursal of funds due to the civic body under the basic tax assessment (BTA) head,” said Prakash.
The Delhi government spokesperson did not respond to requests for a comment.
Prakash alleged that during the pandemic, the Delhi government cut funds due to the corporation under the basic tax assessment head by 57%.
“Every government department or municipal body has been hit badly by the pandemic. However, such a drastic cut in the BTA, which has to be given by the state government, has been done only for the municipal corporation. In case of other government departments, the BTA has been cut only by 18%-19%. We are due to get ₹425 crore from the government under BTA,” said Prakash.
The mayor said that to boost its revenue, the civic body will start an awareness campaign for the amnesty scheme launched to collect pending property tax from unauthorised regularised colonies.
East corporation mayor Nirmal Jain submitted a proposal in the House meeting on Monday, asking Delhi government to release funds due to it. “We are due to get a total of ₹1,050 crore from the Delhi government in the current financial year. We have been unable to pay our staff because of not having any funds,” Jain said.