Uttarakhand: Patients visiting the largest hospital in the state can heave a sigh of relief as the recent strike called by the Doon medical college hospital contractual workers has now ended. The said workers are back to work at the behest of the hospital administration. They were on strike since June 27 demanding regularization of their jobs. Uttarakhand Purva Sainik Kalyan Nigam Limited (UPNL) is the attached hospital to GMC Doon.
MD team earlier reported that their protest is in lieu of transferring their services from UPNL to the medical education department. The demand has been made to the State government by the 173 contractual workers here. They were earlier employed in the Hospital Management Committee (HMC) of Doon hospital and Doon women hospital. Only after the merging with Doon medical college they were transferred to UPNL.
The strike has created an adverse impact on works including the registration process, billing procedure and medicine disbursement in the hospital. The path lab and radiology department procedure has also hit a bottleneck, causing worry for patients and relatives visiting the hospital.
Close to 173 workers are back to work after medical superintendent of the hospital, KK Tamta, and principal, PB Gupta, were able to convince them. The present situation in the state is disturbed by the recent cloudburst and heavy rains, leading to many locals rushing for medical treatment.
The healthcare service in the state is reported to be suffering because of the strike of contractual workers. Due to the strike important schemes including, Mukhya Mantri Swasthya Beema Yojna, Rashtriya Bal Swasthya Karyakaram, Universal Health Scheme — offered by the state health department were closed. Patients are provided free medical treatment, up to a limited amount; therefore, the strike caused much inconvenience to many patients.
Talking to mediapersons, head of contractual workers in Doon Medical College, Ganesh Godiyal, said, “On humanitarian grounds we have resumed work and also because we have been assured that all four of our demands will be accepted by the hospital administration. If it doesn’t happen, or if they deviate from approving our demands, we will be pushed to resume the strike.”
The resumed workers are now demanding that their salary should not be deducted during the strike period of June 27 to July 6 and they should not be sacked.
Around 18,000 other workers belonging to UPNL will continue their strike
Besides the medical college workers, more workers of UPNL have reported an indefinite strike now. They were earlier reported on strike from June 27-30. There are 2,000 health workers across districts deployed earlier through UPNL at various sub-centres, CHCs and PHCs. They along with 16,000 UPNL workers continue to be on strike at Parade Ground in Dehradun.
They are agitated as the hospital is now attached to GMC Doon. They were hopeful of getting a regular job in the state education department. However, the state administration is looking to hire new employees, instead of regularizing their services of many years.
“After the hospital became a medical college, it has several new vacancies which the health department is planning to fill with new candidates rather than those who have been working here for a long time and have toiled to create the current respectable status the hospital enjoys,” said Godiyal.
The workers are also alleging that some of them were not hired under UPNL when they joined the hospital, but still had to enroll with the Nigam to get their salaries and an id for getting regularised, but it was just a futile exercise. “We end up paying some percentage of our salary to UPNL as fee every month. However, there is no guarantee that state will regularise us. They are exploiting us under the guise of UPNL,” said a worker at the medical college.