Mamata Banerjee climbs down, medical agony is over

Kolkata: The week-long junior doctors' strike across State-run hospitals in West Bengal was called off on Monday following a meeting between Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and representatives of the agitating medics."We withdraw our strike after our meeting with the Chief Minister.

The meeting has been positive and fruitful. We appeal to all junior doctors across Bengal to resume work as soon as possible. We have decided to give time to the state government to implement our proposals discussed in the meeting," a representative of the striking doctors said at the state-run NRS Medical College & Hospital.

It is understood that Mamata Banerjee has accepted the various demands of the doctors, including the proposal to set up a grievance redressal cell in government hospitals.

Saying that she was satisfied with the outcome, she announced steps to scale up security at hospitals. It was also decided that the CM would go and visit the injured doctor Paribaha Mukherjee at INK hospital.

Initially, the meeting between Mamata Banerjee and the doctors was going to be televised by national media. The protesting doctors, too, had asked for live coverage of the meeting. However, just before the meeting, the government took a U-turn and let only two local channels air the proceedings.

Speaking about their grievances, striking doctors asserted that they wanted to get back to work as soon as possible. They said they were working in an "environment of fear." They stressed that they only had good intentions and wanted the Mamata Banerjee administration to take steps to ensure their safety.

The doctors said that they had been forced to sit on a protest as their cries for help had been ignored by the state government. "We were forced to stage the protest even though we did not want to. We had to work in fear, we were attacked also.

We tried a lot to send you the message. We want to get back to work as soon as possible. We agree, that common people are suffering but we are helpless," the junior doctors told Mamata Banerjee at the meeting.

Referring to the incident of the beating up of an intern doctor that started the strike, one of the doctors said, "When a patient dies on the table in front of an intern doctor who has just come after finishing school, only he knows the kind of pressure he feels at that moment.

Patient families do not understand this. We do not get their sympathy. This needs to be addressed. The families should address their questions to senior doctors." West Bengal Governor Keshari Nath Tripathi also welcomed the resolution of the ongoing crisis caused by the state-wide strike of doctors.

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