Services in the North Delhi Municipal Corporation-run hospitals were affected on Wednesday as doctors continued their indefinite strike over pending salaries even though the civic body claimed to have cleared the dues till September, reported PTI. Doctors from the Municipal Corporation Doctors’ Association had begun the strike on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, the strike continued even after North Delhi Mayor Jai Prakash appealed to the protesting doctors to return to work as services were getting affected.
In a statement on Tuesday, the mayor had claimed that the NDMC “cleared the due salaries of doctors up to September, of safai karamcharis [cleaners] and domestic breeding checkers upto August this year, and of nurses upto July, and of health workers up to June”. However, MCDA General Secretary Maruti Sinha said the strike would continue as the salaries were not credited.
The resident doctors of the Hindu Rao Hospital have been agitating over the non-payment of salaries since the last week of September. The doctors are also taking turns to sit on a hunger strike as part of the protest.
On Tuesday, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said it was shameful that the doctors were not getting their salaries and requested the Centre to grant funds to the civic bodies so that their paychecks can be issued.
Doctors of three Centre-run hospitals also held symbolic protests on Tuesday to express solidarity with the protesting health workers. Doctors of Safdarjung Hospital and Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital wore black ribbons in support of the protest. Medics from Lady Hardinge Medical College and Hospital observed a pen-down protest for two hours in all wards except those for Covid-19 patients and emergency services.
On Monday, the doctors went on a day-long casual leave en masse. Resident doctors of the Hindu Rao Hospital, also under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation, demonstrated over unpaid salaries in the Capital’s Connaught Place area, and burnt an effigy of Ravana. Doctors of Hindu Rao Hospital, Kasturba Hospital and Rajen Babu Tuberculosis Hospital had staged a protest on October 22 at Jantar Mantar.
The Indian Medical Association on Monday also demanded that the payments should be done, calling the situation “unfortunate”. In a release titled “Banana Republic”, the doctors’ body said healthcare workers, especially doctors, were a national asset and their “humiliation by denying” legitimate salaries was nothing but “state-sponsored violence”.
The Supreme Court had specifically directed that salaries of doctors and healthcare workers should be paid in time. It seems the writ of the highest court of the land does not bind these officials who administer these hospitals, the Indian Medical Association had said in the statement.
As many as six hospitals, 63 maternity and child welfare centres, 17 polyclinics and seven maternity homes come under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation. These medical facilities employ at least 1,000 senior doctors, 500 resident doctors and 1,500 nursing officers.
Meanwhile, Delhi so far reported 3,64,341 Covid-19 cases, according to the Union health ministry. The toll stood at 6,356.