Get back to work, Mamata Banerjee sets a deadline for Bengal’s striking doctors
West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee directed agitating doctors in the state to resume work by 2pm on Thursday and threatened to take action if orders are not followed.
The Bengal CM faced protests by junior doctors who shouted “we want justice” when she visited SSKM Hospital in Kolkata on Thursday. At the spot, Mamata Banerjee expressed anger at the stir, and gave the doctors a deadline to resume duty. “The government will not take any responsibility of those who would not do so (join duty). They will also have to vacate the hostels (if they don’t join work),” said the chief minister, though she did not detail the punitive action.
“The state spends Rs 25 lakh on each doctor and then they shirk work. This won’t be tolerated. Are they doctors!” she said.
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Medicare services across West Bengal remained disrupted for the third day on Thursday as junior doctors in government and private hospitals continued their strike demanding fool-proof security after an assault on them by a mob after the death of a patient here.
The incident of assault took place at a state-run medical college and hospital on Monday night, leaving an intern seriously injured and the strike, which was initiated there, spread to medical institutions in the districts.
Thousands of people seeking treatment -- patients and their relatives -- waited for hours in vain in front of state-run hospitals. Relatives of patients also blocked arterial A J C Bose Road in front of Kolkata’s Nil Ratan Sarkar Medical College and Hospital (NRS) in the morning. The blockade was lifted only after police intervention.
In a few hospitals such as SSKM Hospital in Kolkata and Burdwan Medical College, senior doctors provided services in outpatients’ department and emergency though junior doctors stayed away everywhere.