Delhi Health Minister Satyendar Jain on Saturday said that coronavirus patients admitted at North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run Hindu Rao Hospital will be moved to government-run facilities as resident doctors and staff of the former have threatened to go on strike over non-payment of salaries for the last three months, PTI reported.

Hindu Rao Hospital is a designated coronavirus treatment facility with 343 beds reserved for treatment of patients, according to Hindustan Times. Doctors at the hospital have threatened to withdraw from their duties from Sunday.

“Today, we have ordered to shift all Covid-19 patients from Hindu Rao Hospital to our own facilities,” Jain said. “They have the choice to be shifted to LNJP [Lok Nayak Jai Prakash Narayan Hospital] or any other government hospital nearby their homes.”

The health minister said that the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party, is not paying salaries of employees despite having funds. “BJP is doing politics over the issue, they earn through several taxes,” he added.

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Jain said that municipal corporation should hand over the hospital to the Delhi government if it is unable to take care of the operations, ANI reported. “Staff of the hospital should be paid their salaries,” the Aam Aadmi Party leader said. “If the municipal corporation of Delhi is not able to run Hindu Rao and Kasturba hospitals, then they should handover them to the state government.”

Dr Abhinav Sardana, the president of the Hindu Rao resident doctors’ association, told Hindustan Times that the municipal corporation was not facing any shortage of funds.

“Why should doctors and nurses, who are at the forefront of the Covid-19 fight, have to go on strike to get their basic right of salary? And, it cannot be a matter of the MCD [Municipal Corporation of Delhi] not having any funds. The corporation generates hundred of crores in taxes every month; do you know how much they need to pay the doctors and nurses in all hospitals and dispensaries run by the north corporation? Just Rs 13 crore.”

— Abhinav Sardana

The doctors association had written a letter to Hindu Rao’s medical superintendent on Thursday about “neglect” by the administration, The Print reported.

The RDA vice president, Dr Sagardeep Bawa, told the news website that the doctors had not been paid for four months, despite that fact that they were putting their own health at risk. Delhi has reported over 3.03 lakh coronavirus cases and 5,692 deaths so far.

“An emolument is an imperative way to enliven ones’ attitude but due to the neglection by the administration for 3.5 months, it more seems like penal servitude than moral discipline...We are tormented in ways to surpass our ethics of being called as skilled workers to public demonstrators seeking our primitive right to be remunerated.”

— Resident Doctors Association of the Hindu Rao Hospital