CM Mamata Banerjee appeals to doctors again, assures ESMA won't be invoked

Kolkata: CM Mamata Banerjee again appealed to agitating junior doctors in the state to end their strike, assuring them that her government would not invoke ESMA (Essential Services Maintenance Act) against them. She said the state govt is working to find a "peaceful solution" to the problem, and that it is ready to consider demands put forward by the doctors for their security inside hospitals. "I have already appealed to everyone related to the medical fraternity to end the impasse for the sake of the ailing patients.

I would again appeal to the junior doctors to end the agitation. We are always open to discussion," Banerjee said at the state secretariat, Nabanna. "Yesterday (Friday) I had waited for taks with the junior doctors for nearly five hours, but they did not arrive. They told senior doctors that they would come today. So I along with my team of administrators waited for them. But they have not come today either. I would appeal everyone to join the work," she said. Citing examples of several states such as Delhi, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu which had invoked ESMA to break

the doctors' movement, Banerjee promised her government would not initiate any such administrative steps. "So many states already used this Act because the profession of doctors is considered noble. Our government, too, has the provision. But we want to deal with the issue in a humanitarian and democratic way. So, we have neither invoked ESMA nor cancelled anybody's registration, or arrested anybody," she said. When asked whether she would go to the NRS Medical College and Hospital, the epicentre of the doctor's movement, as per the demand of the agitators, Banerjee refused to answer.

"I will not tell you whether I will go somewhere or not. I think the state secretariat is the best place to hold a meeting with government officials in a democratic manner. I had gone to SSKM Hospital that day and waited for three hours, but no one came to talk to me," she said. "One should respect institutions... when the government is calling them to hold a discussion, they continue to refuse... I wanted to talk to them over phone after the incident, but they refused to talk. Senior government officials also went to talk and asked them to come, but they refused," she alleged, adding all actions have been taken by the state administration.

Doctors turn down Mamata's appeal to return to duty

Kolkata: Agitating junior doctors on Saturday turned down Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee's appeal to end their stir and resume duty, saying there was no honest effort on her part to break the deadlock. "We are eagerly waiting to rejoin our duty, but from the Chief Minister's side there is no honest initiative to find a solution (of the ongoing problem)," a spokesperson of the joint forum of junior doctors told reporters after CM appealed to protestors to return to work. The agitating junior doctors also rubbished Banerjee's claims that a few of their colleagues visited her at the state secretariat. "What CM has told in the press conference is not at all true. No junior doctor went to meet her. What she claimed that we are against the solution and conversation...But we want her to come to the Nil Ratan Sircar Medical College and Hospital listen to us and take necessary steps to serve the ailing people," he said.

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