4,500 doctors in Maharashtra oppose state plan to include them under MESMA
Workers of services under Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA) can be detained by state for going on strikesUpdated: Oct 07, 2018 01:02 IST
More than 4,500 resident doctors in Maharashtra have opposed the medical education department’s proposal to include doctors, nurses and medical staff in the Maharashtra Essential Services Maintenance Act (MESMA), which will allow the state to act against them if they go on a strike.
The proposal has been forwarded to chief minister Devendra Fadnavis for approval.
They were not included in the committee that took the decision, resident doctors claimed. Calling the move ‘undemocratic’, doctors cited lack of grievance redressal, long working hours and lack of supplies by the government as the cause of strikes.
Employees of services under MESMA can be detained by authorities and the offences registered under the act are non-bailable.
Dr Lokeshkumar Chirwatkar, president, Central Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors (MARD), said, “Ideally, the state government and civic bodies should set up committees to enquire the causes of strikes by doctors, nurses or medical staff. The government has showed they lack political courage to improve basic amenities and just want to suppress the voice.”
“The Supreme Court, in its verdict dated September 25, 1987, limited the working hours for resident doctors to 12 hours. But in the state, unregulated shifts last 24 to 36 hours at a stretch,” said Chirwatkar.
Promises such as security personnel, pass system for patients’ relatives, SOS alarm system and regular security audits have been pending for over a year, posing a security threat, said doctors. Moreover, they are still awaiting a response for the request for appointment of a medical education minister for over two months.
Dr Pravin Shingare, director, directorate of medical education and research, and Girish Mahajan, minister, state medical education department, remained unavailable for comment despite repeated calls and messages.