No pay for rural doctors in Punjab for 4 months
Amritsar: Adding to the plight of COVID warriors, the salaries of hundreds of doctors, paramedical staff and class four employees in Punjab are pending for the last four months,
These doctors were merged from the department of rural development and panchayats with the health and family welfare department. The doctors and other staff working in dispensaries were integrate on June 11.
According to a recent media report in Hindustan Times, around 129 doctors and 500 paramedical staff, and class 4 employees are "living in distress" over the non-payment of the salaries, as they are unable to pay bills and school fees of their kids. Many of them are planning to go abroad due to the apathy shown by the health department and the government.
Commenting on the issue, Dr Harinder Singh, president of the Merged Punjab Civil Medical Service Union, told HT, "Some of us are not able to pay monthly installments of home loan. Nothing has moved on the ground despite our repeated requests. Last month, the health department director issued an order directing all civil surgeons across the state to immediately release our salaries, but to no avail. We have been performing our duties with dedication amid the coronavirus pandemic."
Another doctor said that many of their colleagues had gone abroad since they don't see any future working here.
Punjab rural doctors have been actively raised the concern of non-payment of salaries since last month on social platforms. One of the tweets states that despite the letter from Director Health Punjab, more than 130 merged doctors in 21 districts have not been paid since June 21. The salaries have been paid only in the districts of Mansa and Patiala. They alleged that the clerical staff continue to dodge them, thus leading to helplessness amongst the doctors.
However, many officials of the health department put the blame on the civil surgeons for the delay in releasing the salaries. For instance, the Director (health and family welfare), Dr. Andesh Kang told the daily, "We have given instructions to all the civil surgeons to release their salaries immediately or action will be taken against them."
Meanwhile, claiming that the delay is caused due to the merging of departments, Tarn Taran civil surgeon Dr Rohit Mehta added, "Since they were merged from another department, it took some time for the release of their salary budget. We have now got instructions from the authorities and the budget has also been released. Hopefully, their salaries will be disbursed on Monday."