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ESMA in force, Haryana doctors observe two-hour strike

Render emergency services but keep away from OPDs to press for their demands; health minister says action will be taken against them; talks with govt today

india Updated: Sep 12, 2017 13:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Chandigarh
ESMA,Haryana Essential Services Maintenance Act,Haryana doctors
Doctors observed the token strike from 8 am to 10 am to protest against what they termed as callous attitude of the government towards their long-pending demands. (Representative image )

Health services were disrupted for at least two hours across Haryana on Monday with doctors working in the state government health institutions observing a token two-hour strike, despite enforcement of Haryana Essential Services Maintenance Act (ESMA) on it for six months.

Though the doctors rendered all the emergency services across state, they observed the token strike from 8 am to 10 am to protest against what they termed as callous attitude of the government towards their long-pending demands.

The outdoor patient departments (OPDs) are run from 8 am to 2 pm at all the government the hospitals and other public and community health centres, which were affected for two hours in the morning.

Health minister Anil Vij, however, maintained that no services were hit as only a small segment of doctors observed two-hour strike and that notices were being sent to them.

“Action as per ESMA will be taken against those whose replies to the notice would not be satisfactory,” Vij told HT.

On Sunday, Haryana governor Kaptan Singh Solanki had notified ESMA in the state for six months.

However, Haryana Civil Medical Services Association (HCMSA) president Jasbir Parmar claimed that most of the doctors observed the token strike and that principal secretary, health, Amit Jha has called a delegation of HCMSA for talks on Tuesday.

The HCMSA had last month threatened to go on a token strike, if the state government would not accept their demands by September 10. They had also threatened a total strike from September 14.

The HCMSA demands include benefit of incentive in National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) for post-graduation doctors working in rural areas throughout the state, incentive to specialist doctors to attract and retain them government in government hospitals and change of designation after 10 years. The doctors also demanded annual career progression (ACP) at par with the central government.

Regarding the difficulties faced by the patients because of the two-hour strike, Parmar said he hoped that the government and patients knew that doctors’ demands aimed at giving better services to the patients only.

“There is an acute shortage of doctors in government institutions in Haryana because of lack of incentives. There are about 6,000 doctors in Punjab whereas their number in Haryana is only about 2,000 as new doctors are not joining government services, thus making it impossible for doctors to render quality services to patients,” he said.

First Published: Sep 12, 2017 13:08 IST