North MCD doctors refuse to withdraw strike
Doctors of North Delhi municipal corporation-run hospitals, dispensaries and clinics on Tuesday refused to call off their strike even as the civic body said salaries till the month of September had been released for all doctors.
Resident doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital, which was the only Covid-19 facility under the north corporation, began the strike over delayed salaries 23 days ago. Their counterparts from all north MCD-run hospitals as well as senior faculty and doctors later joined them.
Some resident doctors also began a hunger strike five days ago, which was joined by four senior doctors on Tuesday.
The doctors are now looking for a permanent solution to ensure timely payment of salaried. A decision on the strike will be taken after a general body meeting of senior and the resident doctors at 10 am on Wednesday after checking if everybody has received their salaries.
Dr Sagardeep Bawa, vice-president of the resident doctors’ association of Hindu Rao, said, “Since the senior doctors joined the strike, we will convene a general body meeting tomorrow morning where a decision will be taken together.”
“We will not call of the strike till we ensure that each and every doctor, including those in dispensaries and clinics, have been paid. We are trying to look for a permanent solution so that doctors do not have to get on the road and protest every few months,” said Dr RR Gautam, president of the municipal corporation doctors’ association.
Meanwhile, the National Board of Examination -- which governs the Diplomate National Board postgraduate training of doctors -- has threatened to withdraw accreditation of Hindu Rao hospital for not paying salaries to the trainees on time. “The hospital is required to release the pending stipend of the trainees immediately, failing which NBE shall be constrained to take appropriate action, including but not limited to withdrawal of accreditation of Hindu Rao hospital, Delhi,” read a letter signed by Dr Pawanindra Lal, executive director of the board.
Earlier on Tuesday morning, north corporation mayor Jai Prakash had called a meeting with doctors in his office . “We requested him to come to Hindu Rao hospital where all the doctors were present and give his solution. If the solution was acceptable to all, we would call off the strike. No permanent solution was offered by him,” said Dr Gautam.
Doctors from several government hospitals in Delhi stopped routine work for two hours or worked with a black ribbon in solidarity with the doctors from the north corporation on Tuesday morning.
The three mayors had also protested outside chief minister Arvind Kejriwal’s office on Monday, demanding that the Delhi government pay “R 13,500 crore it owed to the MCDs” so that they could pay the doctors.
Delhi health minister Satyendar Jain said on Tuesday morning, “Whatever we had to pay as per the finance commission, we are paying it on time. But MCD does not run on that money alone. Their tax collection is about ₹18 to 20,000 crore. What the Delhi government pays is just 15 to 20% of their funds. What about the rest?”