A doctor protests in New Delhi. Pic/AFP.

Should doctors turn into Naxalites to claim payment: IMA chief

By IANS | New Delhi

Published: 26 October, 2020 16:57 IST

The issue of non-payment of salaries of doctors in Hindu Rao Hospital is a case of systemic failure, stated the medical association

The Indian Medical Association (IMA) on Monday demanded initiation of proceedings for contempt of a Delhi High Court order against the administration of corporation run-Hindu Rao Hospital. The doctors there are on an indefinite hunger strike demanding payment of their salaries. The association called the matter a systematic failure and equated it with a "banana republic."

"The issue of non-payment of salaries of doctors in Hindu Rao Hospital is a case of systemic failure. Doctors who have served the nation during the coronavirus pandemic deserve appropriate accolades and incentives. It defies logic when they have to resort to roadside agitations to get their legitimate salaries," the association stated.

Meanwhile, IMA chief Dr Rajan Sharma asked whether doctors should turn into Naxalites to claim their right to be paid. "It's a shame that at a time when the pandemic is raging, the doctors are forced to hit the streets, hold placards at places like Jantar Mantar and Connaught Place to highlight their plight," he said.

Sharma said the Municipal Corporations of Delhi (MCD) and the Delhi government are politicising the matter rather than approaching the solution. "MCD claims that the Delhi government has blocked their funds while Delhi government claims that the Centre is not releasing the state's taxes. They are just passing the buck but where would it stop? Someone has to step out and take the responsibility rather than turning the grievances of the doctors into a merry-go-round," he added.

The hospital comes under the aegis of the North Delhi Municipal Corporation (North MCD). The hospital resident doctors have been protesting for over two weeks, demanding the release of their salaries pending for over four months now. Five of the resident doctors have been on an indefinite hunger strike since Friday evening.

Sharma stated that the authorities must rise above politics and take charge of the situation. He said that the Delhi government should take over healthcare from the municipal corporations. "Health is always a state subject, but here it is in the ambit of the municipal corporations. When it is evident that they (MCD) are unable to manage it, then it should be handed over to the government."

In June, the Delhi High Court had taken suo moto cognizance of the non-payment of salaries after seeing various media reports claiming that the doctors at hospitals, including Kasturba Hospital, Hindu Rao Hospital etc, managed by the civic body were not getting salaries. The top court had ordered the North MCD to disburse the pending salaries of the healthcare workers and not to let a similar situation arise in the future.

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