400 medical interns in city go on hunger strike
More than 2,000 medical interns from across the state began an indefinite hunger strike on Monday, demanding a hike in their stipends.Updated: May 03, 2011 01:07 IST
More than 2,000 medical interns from across the state began an indefinite hunger strike on Monday, demanding a hike in their stipends. “We do not want an assurance, but a government resolution on an increase in the stipend amount,” said Dr Vijay Bonde, general secretary, Association of State Medical Interns (ASMI).
Medical interns currently earn a monthly stipend of Rs 2,550. They want the amount to be raised to Rs 13,000 a month. There are around 2,060 medical interns in the state.
On Monday, 400 medical interns, from KEM, Sion, Nair and JJ hospitals, gathered at Kamgar Maidan, near KEM Hospital, in Parel.
“Medical interns’ stipend is the least in Maharashtra as compared to other states. The stipend given in states such as Bihar and Tamil Nadu is Rs 7,000. We are asking for an increase, because the cost of living is increasing. How does one survive on Rs2,550 per month?” said Dr Mayur Ambekar, who works at Sion Hospital and is the coordinator of ASMI.
In 2009, the state had increased the stipend from Rs1,700 to the present amount, after interns went on a state-wide strike. “Today, a few Anna Hazare supporters came to show solidarity with our cause,” added Ambekar.
In February, a team of medical interns from KEM, Sion and Nair hospitals had spoken to Milind Mhaiskar, secretary, medical education and drug department, to increase the monthly stipend. In March, interns had organised a silent protest for the same cause.
“I met the ASMI representatives personally and asked them to withdraw their strike, as the government is thinking positively about a substantial increase in their stipend,” said Dr Pravin Shingare, joint director, Directorate of Medical Education and Research.
According to doctors at KEM Hospital, medical services in municipal hospitals were not affected by the strike, as the resident and senior doctors stepped in to manage the workload.