Unpaid for 5 months, MBBS interns of JJM Medical College seek authorities intervention
Davangere: Non-payment of stipend for around five months has landed the intern doctors of JJM Medical College at trouble again and the new interns of the 2016 MBBS batch are being tossed between the government and the college management as both have denied the responsibility of paying stipend to these doctors.
While the management of the college has clarified that it is responsibility of the Government to pay these doctors, the Health Minister of the State Dr. K Sudhakar has allegedly told the students that they have already directed the management to pay the interns and it is not the government's responsibility anymore, an intern doctor of the college has told Medical Dialogues.
In fact, the medicos have already approached the Chief Minister of the State, Sri Basavaraj Bommai. Even though they received assurance on the behalf of the CM that the issue would be sorted out within four to five days, nothing has happened yet.
Meanwhile, not getting paid for five months, the intern doctors are at a fix and they are unable to find any other way but initiate a strike, a member of Junior Doctor Association of Interns of JJMMC informed Medical Dialogues.
Medical Dialogues had earlier reported that the medicos of JJM Medical college had gone into strike last year as well as their stipend were due for around 16 months at that time. Back then as well, there was a big confusion between the Karnataka Government and the college management regarding the responsibility to pay the stipend. Reacting to the indefinite strike of the medicos the Honorary Secretary of the College Management had clarified that the management is not responsible and will not be able to give stipend as it is the responsibility of the government to do so since the students have been selected under government quota.
"This issue has been going on for the last five years. Last year it became really severe as the intern doctors resorted to strike which lasted for around 17 days. Finally, the Government and the Management had come to an agreement that since the intern doctors have not been paid for one and half years, the first one year would be paid by the Government and the rest of the six months would be paid by the college management. At that time the Government had also made it quite clear that it would be the Management's responsibility to pay the coming batches.
However, the Government at that time had only directed the order and there hadn't been any documentation or no record where the management had said that they would be paying to the rest of the batches. This was the biggest loophole of this whole agreement," said JDA president Dr. Hemanth R.
"When we approached the management they clearly told us that it was the Government's responsibility to pay us since we are working in the District Hospital of Davangere and that is why the management told us to speak to the Government.
Later, we also consulted the Health Minister Sudhakar, the only response we got from him was that they had sent the document last year only and had directed the management to pay. If they are not paying it is not the government's responsibility. He also advised us to approach the court for getting stipend," he added.
"The Management has paid for the six months and they are paying for the odd batches also. In fact, our seniors belonging to the odd batches are right now working along with us and they are getting their stipend. But we, the fresh new batch are not getting paid," said an intern of the medical college.
"We have even contacted the Chief Minister sir as well. He had assured that the issue will be sorted within four to five days. Unfortunately it has become almost 15 days and we haven't got any response yet.
So, this has become a ping pong situation right now. We are being tossed between the Government and the management, and as it appears soon we may get involved in the legal process as well," added JDA President.
Mentioning that the association and the intern doctors are trying to explore all the other option and seek help from everyone possible before initiating strike, he further added"As interns we have to lots of things to do. We perform casual duties, covid duties, we serve in the Government district hospital and still we do not get paid, which is our basic rights. So, we are left with no options other than to go on strike. There is a high possibility that we will be forced to initiate strike."