Hand over hospitals to Centre or govt if can't pay salary: Delhi doctors tell MCD
New Delhi - Resident doctors' associations of two major civic hospitals and the umbrella body of RDAs in Delhi on Tuesday suggested 'handing over' municipal facilities to the city government or the Centre if the corporations are unable to address the issue of doctors' salaries.
Doctors at the 900-bed Hindu Rao Hospital and 450-bed Kasturba Hospital, both under the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (NDMC), have been demanding release of their salaries, due for the past three months.
While Hindu Rao Hospital doctors have been protesting for the last several days over the issue, the resident doctor's association (RDA) of the British-era Kasturba Hospital (earlier Victoria Zenana Hospital) have threatened to go on a seven-day strike starting Wednesday.
'We are going to withdraw all services for the next seven days, not even the emergency service. We don't want to clang of utensils or floral showers, but just our salaries. Are we asking anything wrong The NDMC is unable to pay our salaries, and the Delhi government has shown interest at least, so let the civic hospitals be handed over to them, if MCD unable to run affairs,' Dr Sunil Prasad, president of the RDA of Kasturba Hospital, said.
He also asserted that 'we are sick of being treated like a football among various parties'. Doctors want resolution and a life of dignity, Prasad said.
The Hindu Rao Hospital, whose resident doctors are currently agitating over their due salaries, was on Tuesday removed from the list of COVID-19 facilities by the Delhi government.
The city government on Saturday had ordered shifting of COVID-19 patients from the civic-run hospital to its own facilities.
The doctors' pending salaries issue has become a flashpoint between the ruling AAP in Delhi and the three BJP-led civic bodies, particularly the NDMC.
Both have accused each other of 'playing politics' over the doctors' issue.
While the AAP dispensation has said that funds have been released to the civic bodies, North Mayor Jai Prakash has been alleging that 'the city government has not released crores of funds due to the corporations'.
The Delhi government on Monday had asked municipal corporations to consider handing over their hospitals to it if they are unable to pay salaries and dues to doctors, paramedics and other staff who have threatened to go on strike.
Delhi minister Satyendar Jain also directed the additional chief secretary (urban development) to take up the issue with commissioners of the three municipal corporations.
Abhimanyu Sardana, president of the RDA of Hindu Rao Hospital, the largest municipal hospital in Delhi, said, 'I don't care who runs the hospital, as long as our issues are sorted'.
'And, it is not that the NDMC doesn't want to run Hindu Rao, it is actually facing fund crunch, and the municipal commissioner yesterday told us all efforts are being made to generate funds to pay the due salaries,' he said.
However, what is the guarantee that doctors' issue will be resolved if the Delhi government takes charge of the civic hospitals, Sardana asked.
'We don't want to become an instrument of politics between two rival parties. We want authorities to resolve our issues, and if by handing over to the Centre or Delhi government, we get an assurance that it will be sorted out, then so be it,' he added.
Federation of Resident Doctors Association (FORDA), an umbrella body of various RDAs in Delhi also suggested handing over of Hindu Rao Hospital and other civic facilities to the Centre or Delhi government, going by the present situation.
'We see two ways for a possible solution to this crisis, one is finding a channel either through the central or Delhi government to pay them the salaries or MCD handing over its facilities to the Centre or Delhi government,' he said.
'Since, the NDMC is struggling with funds, handing over seems to be a viable option,' he said.