Kasturba Gandhi nursing staff protest for 12th day
The nursing staff have been abstaining from work for two hours daily since September 14 to demand pending salaries, which they claim have been due since June this year.Updated: Sep 26, 2020, 09:58 IST
The agitation by the nursing staff of North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Kasturba Hospital — to demand pending salaries — entered into its 12th day on Friday, with over 100 staffers sitting under shade within the hospital premises to register a silent protest.
The nursing staff have been abstaining from work for two hours daily since September 14 to demand pending salaries, which they claim have been due since June this year. Earlier this week, the nursing staff were joined by paramedics and sanitation staff in their agitation.
“We last got paid in May. Many people have taken loans from moneylenders to pay the education fees of their children or to clear their EMIs. In so many months, we haven’t got a single assurance from either the administration or the political wing. How long can we survive like this?” said BL Sharma, president, Nursing Staff Union, Kasturba Hospital.
Saroj Bala, a senior nursing staff, working at the hospital for the last 15 years said that this is the first time — and that too in the middle of a raging pandemic — that the staff has not been paid for so long. “Many people have gone into depression, as they are finding it difficult to make ends meet. We sit in protest for just two hours so that patients do not have to suffer,s,” said Bala.
Earlier in July, the hospital staff had called a strike over delay in payment of salaries and later called it off after the civic body assured that their dues will be cleared soon.
In May, the doctors too had protested the non-payment of salaries and had approached the Delhi High Court on the same after which their salaries were paid till June. Salaries of the sanitation workers too were last paid in June.
The 450-bed Kasturba Hospital is a maternity and child specialty hospital of the North corporation located near Jama Masjid.
Contacted, North corporation mayor Jai Prakash admitted that there was a delay in payment of dues and he had called a meeting with the agitating staff on Monday.
“I will ask them for some more time to resolve the problem. I have already approached the Central government to help us with this situation. Also we have requested Delhi government for disbursal of funds to pay the salary of staff . We will find a solution to this problem soon,” said Prakash.
He added that the Delhi government has to release funds to the tune of Rs 1200 crore taht is due to the civic body, which has been pending for long. “At present, because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the finances of the corporation have been drastically hit and in absence of funds being released by the Delhi government, it has become difficult to pay off the salaries of employees,” he said, adding, that the corporation needs at least Rs 350 crore to pay its 58,000 employees.