Over 4000 resident doctors on indefinite strike in Maharashtra
Mumbai: Demanding to waive off academic fees as a form of compensation for academic loss due to Covid-19, over 4000 resident doctors across Maharashtra have gone on an indefinite strike here on Friday.
The Maharashtra State Association of Resident Doctors (MARD) called for a state-wide indefinite protest from October 1, over several unmet demands primarily related to the waiving of academic fees of the resident doctors in the state.
However, the MARD has issued an official statement that only non-emergency medical services would be closed from 8 AM while the emergency and intensive care services would continue so that the patient care is not compromised. Further, no optional or elective surgery would take place at the hospitals till the strike has been called off.
Accordingly, the doctors went on strike from 8 am onwards today and threatened to intensify it if their demands are not fulfilled by the state.
The primary demands made by doctors of MARD included waiving off the academic fee, improving the conditions of the hostels, no deduction of TDS from the stipend of the resident doctors of BMC hospital and providing Covid-19 incentives to the government hospitals in Maharashtra since they have not received it yet.
Resident doctors were seen protesting in front of Lokmanya Tilak Municipal Medical College in Mumbai. Around 450 resident doctors of B J Medical College and Sassoon General Hospital also joined the strike, reports The Indian Express.
Further, the Association of State Medical Interns (ASMI) also extended its support to MARD.
A member of the MARD, Dr Akshay Yadav told ANI, "We have an update that at 11.30 am on Friday the higher authorities have called us to the Ministry to discuss the matter. But we want written assurances which we have not received yet. Doctors have sacrificed everything for the people of India. So we just want justice for COVID warriors. Hence we have decided to declare our strike from 8 AM on Friday."
Office bearers of the MARD strongly expressed the need to waive off academic fees as a form of compensation for their academic loss due to Covid-19, while saying, "Our resident doctors have given their all in the fight against the pandemic. Several have been infected and some have lost their family members. However, the academic loss we have suffered due to this pandemic should be compensated. Academic fees for the year 2020-2021 should be waived off."
Expressing disappointment at the inaction of the state government over their demands, MARD president, Dr. Dnyaneshwar Dhobale Patil said, "We have been raising the issues for the last 5 months. But no action has been taken. No written assurance was received from the Maharashtra government so we will go on a strike from tomorrow onwards. Tomorrow we have a meeting regarding our demands with Education Minister Amit Deshmukh and Finance Minister Ajit Pawar at 11.30 am. If we get a positive result in the meeting, we will resume our duties. If no results come, our strike will continue indefinitely and it will be severe going forward. The emergency services will not be affected during the strike."
The resident doctors had threatened to go on a strike around the beginning of September too over the same demands but were put on hold after the Maharashtra Medical Education Minister Amit Deshmukh, had promised to waive off the academic fees. According to a recent media report in Republicworld, the vice president of the MARD, Pranav Jadhav stated that there has been no update from the state government since then on the issue.
The demands were submitted by the resident doctors to the minister in August, and subsequently, Deshmukh had tweeted that the education ministry would bring out positive changes for the resident doctors fighting at the forefront against COVID-19.