Resident doctors and paramedical staff members from three North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals on Thursday staged a protest at Jantar Mantar over not being paid their salaries for the last three months, PTI reported.
The protestors belonged to Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital and Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital. “We are tired of raising this issue, but [there is] still no resolution is in sight,” Abhimanyu Sardana, the president of Hindu Rao Hospital’s Resident Doctors’ Association, told the news agency.
He added: “We should be in hospitals now. We have no option but to press for our demands. We want our due salaries, it is our basic right.”
Sardana said that the doctors had been risking their lives caring for coronavirus patients. “We are just asking for our dues,” he was quoted as saying by Hindustan Times. “How are we expected to keep working without being paid for months? How are we supposed to run our houses? We have been on Covid-19 duty risking our lives and are still not being paid.”
Nearly 100 doctors and paramedical staff members were present at the protest site, according to the newspaper. They had been on a “partial strike” over the last 18 days, since they did not want the patients to be affected.
The paramedical staff members expressed concern over piling debt. Santosh Singh, who works at the Kasturba Hospital, told Hindustan Times that his savings had been exhausted and there was still no certainty about being paid.
Jyotsana Prakash, a resident doctor at Hindu Rao Hospital, told PTI that her colleagues may go on a hunger strike. “Final decision is yet to be made by the [resident doctors’] association,” she said.
On Monday, doctors from the three hospitals had met North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash and put forth seven demands. In addition to the payment of salaries, the demands included pay grades and matters related to contractual doctors. Prakash had assured the doctors that their concerns will be addressed.
The Delhi government had on October 13 removed Hindu Rao Hospital from its list of designated coronavirus treatment facilities as the doctors continued their protests, according to The Indian Express. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation is controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.
On October 10, the Delhi government had issued orders to move coronavirus patients from the hospital to its own facilities. The North Delhi Municipal Corporation is controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party.