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Updated on: Wednesday, May 29, 2019, 03:51 AM IST

Mumbai: In Munnabhai-style protest, resident doctors turn fruiterers

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Mumbai: On Tuesday, an unusual scene met the eyes of passersby and patients at Sion hospital, as a group of resident doctors, clad in their work gear — white aprons and stethoscopes around their necks — were selling fruits. As prescribed by ‘Munnabhai MBBS’ in the eponymous films, resident doctors of the Lokmanya Tilak Municipal General Hospital, Sion, were merely demonstrating ‘Gandhigiri’ — using a non-violent means of protest.

To show solidarity with their striking counterparts across the state, they have set up fruit stalls outside the hospital’s Gate No. 7. More than 1,000 resident doctors in Nagpur, Latur, Beed, and Aurangabad have been protesting the non-payment of stipend for the past several months.

Dr Lokesh Kumar Chirwatkar, president, Central MARD (Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors) said, “Instead of solving our problems, the government is giving false assurances, which clearly shows they are not interested in fulfilling the demands. The ‘fruit stall’ movement will now spread across Maharashtra and it is our silent form of protest. But if our demands are not met, we will be forced to take the streets.”

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“The government should look into this matter seriously or else it will adversely affect patients. We will meet the state health minister Deepak Sawant on Thursday. If our demands are not met at that time, we plan to block the JJ flyover and take the protest to Sawant’s door,” Dr Chirwatkar said.

From Monday, over 1,000 doctors from the state’s four medical colleges have been wearing black ribbons to work, as a mark of protest. “The government has not accepted our demands, forcing us to protest. In comparison with other states, the stipend we receive from the Maharashtra government is abysmally low,” said a resident doctor. However, an official from the Directorate of Medical Education and Research (DMER) assured,“The doctors’ stipend issue will be sorted out on a priority basis.”

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Published on: Wednesday, December 26, 2018, 07:02 AM IST
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