Maharashtra: Resident Doctors’ Indefinite Strike Across State Won’t Hit Emergency Services

Maharashtra: Resident Doctors’ Indefinite Strike Across State Won’t Hit Emergency Services

MARD President says approximately 8,000 doctors are participating across the state, however, emergency services will continue to be operational during the strike

Swapnil MishraUpdated: Friday, February 23, 2024, 12:55 PM IST
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Resident Doctors' strike at JJ Hospital |

The Maharashtra Association of Resident Doctors Central (MARD) called for an indefinite strike on Thursday evening, following the state government’s failure to fulfil its promises – to improve the living and working conditions of resident doctors in the state, increase stipends, and clear arrears.

This is the second such strike in 2024, with approximately 8,000 doctors participating across the state. However, emergency services will continue to be operational during the strike. MARD President Dr Abhijit Hegle said that despite their efforts to engage constructively with the authorities and the assurances given on February 7, 2024, the promises made to resolve the legitimate issues of resident doctors had not been honoured even after a fortnight. Despite numerous appeals to the authorities, the concerns of resident doctors remained unaddressed.

Doctors' grievances

“The commitments made during the meeting by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar and Honourable Minister of Medical Education Hasan Mushrif, which include the immediate allocation of funds for hostel repairs and construction, regularisation of stipend payments with the release of pending stipends and arrears, and a 10k increase in stipend, have not been fulfilled in a timely manner. As a result, we have been compelled to take decisive action in order to protect our rights and maintain our high standards of patient care,” he said. The MARD has sought a prompt and sincere response to their demands by the government, within the specified timeframe.

Fake reassurances from the government have forced them to initiate a strike until their grievances are addressed, the association said. Earlier this month, nearly 450 resident doctors from the B J Government Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital had called for an indefinite strike, demanding improved accommodation, stipend increment, and the clearance of arrears. Meanwhile, Deputy CM Pawar has appealed to the doctors to call off the strike, saying their demands will be met at the upcoming cabinet meeting.

Govt's approach

The government has a positive approach to their demands and wants to provide them with facilities to improve their living conditions, he assured. “There was no cabinet meeting last week, and as a result, the proposals for these demands were not approved but on the coming Sunday, we will fulfil the longpending demands of resident doctors. In the meanwhile, we urge doctors to call off their strike,” said Pawar.

However, Dr Hegle said, “The strike will continue until 3pm on February 23, as the state government has called for a meeting. The final decision to call off the strike will be taken after the meeting.” Presently, pay scales for junior resident doctors range from Rs 78,000 to Rs 82,000 a month. The MARD has demanded that this should be increased to match that offered by Central institutes – Rs 1.2 lakh per month.

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